Mystery Solved? Tradescantia pallida ‘Pale Puma’?

Tradescantia pallida ‘Pale Puma’ ? on 7-6-18, #471-10.

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all well. When I left the mansion in Mississippi and moved back to the family farm in February 2013, I had to leave behind a lot of plants. Some I left behind because I thought surely I would find them here so I could just get new ones. One such plant was the Tradescantia pallida (Purple Heart).

 

Tradescantia pallida (Purple Heart) on 9-15-10, #59-31.

While I was living in Mississippi, a good friend of mine (Kyle Hall) would bring me cuttings of plants he picked up here and there. One day, in 2010 or maybe 2009, he brought me a cutting of Purple Heart (Tradescantia pallida). The cutting soon took off and by the time I left in 2013, I had several pots of Purple Heart, it was growing in the west flower bed, plus there were several pots of other plants with Purple Heart growing with them. Every time a stem would break off, I just stuck it in a pot with another plant or in the dirt somewhere.

 

Tradescantia pallida ? from Walley Morse on 10-27-18, #125-15.

Then later, I think maybe in the spring of 2012, another friend and fellow plant collector (Walley Morse) also brought me a plant he said was a Purple Heart. I told him I had Purple Heart but it didn’t look like his. So, of course, I gave him a start of the Purple Heart I had already. I was very surprised he didn’t have it already since it was very common there and he was a plant collector. Anyway, the plant he gave me had shorter leaves and were kind of fuzzy. Mine had longer leaves with no fuzz.

 

Tradescantia ?!?!? on 6-1-13, #151-70.

So, when I came back to the family farm in mid-Missouri in February 2013, I only brought the plant Walley had given me. I thought surely I would find the “other” Purple Heart with no problem. The one Walley had given me was, in my opinion, kind of unique. Now, the amount of light Tradescantia pallida receive effects the color of the leaves. I had put the above plant in the basement for the remainder of the winter where it actually went dormant and came back to life right before I moved the plants outside for the summer. I thought it went dormant because of the 8-9 hour trip in 30 degree F. temperatures. When the new growth emerged, in the basement with poor light, the leaves were green, not purple… This was my first experience with plants going dormant in the basement then miraculously coming up before I put them outside in the spring. How do they know when to come up when they are in the basement in a steady temperature?

 

Tradescantia ?!?!?! on 7-14-13, #162-53.

Then, after it was outside for a while, the leaves turned purple and became very hairy. Well, I now had a good computer and internet, so I began my search to find out what in the heck this plant was. I read forums from people who had the same questions and none were answered very well. The ONLY species of Tradescantia I could find with hairy leaves was the Tradescantia sillamontana, which this plant definitely was not. So, I decided I would let my search rest for a while and surely I would accidentally find the answer. I wondered, though, if this plant was a cross between Tradescantia pallida and Tradescantia sillamontana. Time went by and I gave up most of my plants in the late summer of 2014.

 

Tradescantia sillamontana on 5-23-15, #261-7.

Then, LOW AND BEHOLD, when I was at Wagler’s Greenhouse on May 23, 2015, I found the plant in the above photo… I thought surely this must be a Tradescantia sillamontana with its green leaves and white hair. It was growing a little out of whack compared to photos I had seen online, but…

 

Tradescantia sillamontana leaves on 5-23-15, #261-8.

But definitely, I thought, this plant was surely a Tradescantia sillamontana. It goes by several common names including White Gossamer Plant, White Velvet, and Cobweb Spiderwort (and probably other names). Yep, it is in the same family as Spiderworts.

 

Tradescantia sillamontana (in three pots) on 5-15-18, #448-30.

I have had this plant for three years now. It grows like crazy during the summer, then goes dormant in the basement over the winter. After a few months, it starts coming up again. I tried growing it upstairs over the winter, and it just grew all weird. Much better off in the basement dormant.

 

Tradescantia pallida ‘Pale Puma’ ? on 6-7-18, #455-23.

Then, when my sister and her husband and I were plant shopping on June 7, I found this plant at Wildwood Greenhouse. I really didn’t pay much attention at the time, but knew it was a Tradescantia pallida, a Purple Heart. Well, I just grabbed it because I had finally found another Purple Heart! It was one of those “HOLY CRAP” moments!

After a few days, I put it in a larger pot and placed it with the other plants. I thought the color was a bit off and the leaves were a bit short, but I thought perhaps it was because of the light it was growing in. It didn’t click right away what was really going on.

 

Tradescantia pallida ‘Pale Puma’ ? on 7-6-18, #471-10.

Then, on July 4 when I moved the plant table and plants to the front porch because of the Japanese Beetle invasion, I took a closer look at this plant. Ummmmmmmmm…. This plant is NOT like my first Tradescantia pallida from cuttings Kyle gave me, it is like the plant Walley brought me. It has shorter, wider leaves with a little fuzz. HAH!

So, that triggered a little research again. This time, instead of searching for images of Tradescantia pallida, I just searched Tradescantia images. I ran across a page from San Marcos Growers that had this plant but had named it ‘Greenlee’ after the man who gave them their start. Their information also says Plant Delights also offered this plant under the name ‘Pale Puma’. They were also told by Scott Ogden (a plantsman in Austin, TX) it was an unnamed heirloom widespread in the Austin area. He suggested it was a hairless selection of Tradescantia sillamontana, or possibly a cross between Tradescantia pallida and Tradescantia sillamontana (as I had previously thought because of the similarities of both species). The link attached to San Marcos Growers takes you to their page if you are interested in reading it. It would be very interesting to know where the name ‘Pale Puma’ came from and what I am actually supposed to call the species name. It seems since San Marcos Growers and Plant Delights are calling it Tradescantia pallida, then I guess I will, too. Plant Delights noted ‘Pale Puma’ was popular and widely grown in the Texas Panhandle since the 1990’s. Maybe I need to email Tony and quiz him a little.

 

Tradescantia sillamontana with flowers on 9-27-17, #379-12.

One interesting thing is that the information from Plant Delights says Tradescantia ‘Pale Puma’ produces white flowers while San Marcos says pinkish white. Tradescantia pallida and Tradescantia sillamontana produce pink flowers. Hopefully, the new Tradescantia ‘Pale Puma’ will flower so we can see for ourselves.

 

Tradescantia sillamontana on 10-3-15, #272-29.

From my experience, Tradescantia sillamontana leaves may take on a pinkish tint sometimes (I have photos), but they do not turn purple. The leaves and stems are very hairy all the time not just sometimes. The leaves also grow opposite one another whereas Tradescantia pallida grow in whorls (well, I have photos of them growing in whorls and opposite as young cuttings). What can I say, they are variable (I am beginning to dislike that word). Light, soil, water, time of year… All contribute to this plants variability. Of course, there are the many species in the genus that grow like wild onions with blue flowers along country roads, highways, trails, and in my yard in Mississippi… Plants of the World Online currently list 79 accepted species in the Tradescantia genus of spiderworts.

THEN, on the 6th, my cousin’s wife called and said they were going on a trip and would like me to water their plants, etc. while they were gone. So I went for a visit and she showed me what she needed me to do. It had been several years since I had been to their house so it was a nice tour of their flower beds. Guess what she has growing inside her sunroom? A REAL Tradescantia pallida! After all these years, I found someone with this species and we are related! They have a lot of plants and it will be a great treat watering them while they are gone. I took a few photos already.

I have been wanting to give them several plants, such as a few of the Alocasia and Callisia fragrans. They would look good in their sunroom.

Well, I better close this post and work on a few more pages. Until next time, stay healthy, safe, positive and GET DIRTY!

Japanese Beetle Damage Plus A Big Surprise

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all well. On July 5 I posted about the Japanese Beetles and having to move the plants to the front porch on the 4th. The next day was weird. I expected to see the Japanese Beetles still feeding on the trees just like they had been prior to the 4th. Now, they had been here on the trees for several weeks, just not so many. On the 5th, it was like 99% had left or died. There are still a lot in the trees, but not anything like there were. The yard between the shed (where the plant tables are) and the chicken house has three big Chinese Elm trees. The grass is covered with dead leaves

I took the photos in this post today, Sunday June 8.

 

The patch of Violas along the shed covered with leaves. It was worse than this a day or so earlier but the wind blew some of the leaves off.

 

The shed is sitting inside of the foundation of grandpas old garage and the potting table is behind the shed. The floor and potting table is covered with leaves.

 

This is the tree closest to the shed and the one with the worse damage so far. A few of those limbs were dead already. Chinese Elms are a pain in the neck anyway and I am continually picking up after them. Every year the leaves are somewhat see through by the end of summer, but the plants easily adapt to the slow change and even welcome more light as the summer progresses. It worked out pretty well even though I had to remove leaves from the pots off and on. When you first take plants outside in the spring, they need to become acclimated to more light gradually. Under the elm tree was a great place because there was shade in the beginning. Then gradually, as insects ate holes in the leaves, there was more light.

 

The table with some of the cactus and succulents is along one side of the shed. They were covered with dead leaves and there is still a lot and they continue to fall.

 

The Billbergia nutans looked at me and said, “Ummm… Can you get this crap off of me?”

Then I went over to the shade bed to get a few photos. I had watered the evening before and washed a lot of the leaves off of the plants. I should have taken photos before I watered, but I was running out of light.

 

The shade beds are under two Chinese Elm trees and a Maple. The light has completely changed…

 

The Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’s thought winter was coming and the trees applied a mulch of its leaves… I told them if it was winter in July I was leaving.

 

Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’ is a bit uppity at times, and sometimes has a lot to say. Right now, she is completely speechless. This is no time for more sun because it is still way to hot. Later on would be fine as cooler temps approach.

 

Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ is to busy strutting right now but would prefer the leaves from the trees would fall somewhere else.

 

She is blooming late this year… Seeing this flower brightened my mood a little so I took a few photos elsewhere.

 

The Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) I moved here from the bed down the street this spring are now flowering. The foxtail needs pulled out of the bed AGAIN…

 

I noticed the Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’) next to the back porch is contining to do very well. I am so glad I put it here.

Yesterday I was very shocked and surprised at what I found when I was watering. Something I absolutely did not expect to find. 

 

The Colocasia esculenta in the left side of the north bed has a flower… I was really surprised! They always flowered up a storm in Mississippi but have never flowered here since I have been back. It has been SIX YEARS since I have seen a Colocasia esculenta flower! The Alocasia bloom all the time during the summer and are sweet smelling. The Colocasia flowers stink really bad…

So, it just goes to show you gardening has its ups and downs. The moles are still working in the flower beds and sometimes I need to fill in their runs before I can water. I also realize that the Japanese Beetle problem could be much worse next year and think I need to check on the cost of milky spore to apply to the yard. At least where the Chinese Elm trees are and in the flower beds. That will help control the larvae and perhaps the moles.

Well, that’s all for now. Take care, stay well, safe, and positive. I hope you are finding time to GET DIRTY!

Cephalanthus, Monarda, & Teucrium

Cephalanthus occidentalis (Buttonbush) on 7-4-18, #469-10.

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all well. Spring is an amazing time of the year and filled with a lot of anticipation. What will return and what will not. Some plants can hardly wait to start flowering while others take a bit longer. Some flowers bloom over a long period while others for only a week or so (or even a few days). There have been flowers I have seen in the pasture and along fence rows I needed photos of but didn’t have my camera. Then, when I went back later to take photos, it was already too late.

I have been watching the two Buttonbush trees (Cephalanthus occidentalis) behind the south pond so I could get some photos of their flowers. I thought I had taken photos before, but there were none in the folders by plant name or finder. So, I guess these fall under the “flowers I missed” category.

 

The two Buttonbush trees (Cephalanthus occidentalis) are indeed a strange looking pair.

 

They are small trees here on the farm, but in some areas, they are more of a bush.

 

Their trunks are kind of contorted and interesting. They are suitable trained as a small shrub for home landscape use. However, they prefer moist conditions and are often found in low areas around ponds and creeks. These two trees are growing behind the old pond next to the ditch that runs from the other pond. The ditch drains water from the ponds and pasture and eventually runs into the park lake.

 

The flowers have a very sweet scent and are loved by bees and butterflies.

 

Two of the common names are Honey Balls or Honey Plant. After flowering, they have small seed capsules containing two seeds that persist throughout the winter.

For more information, visit the Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri Department of Conservation, and the Wikipedia page.

 

<<<<+>>>>

The Monarda fistulosa (Bee Balm, Oswego Tea, Bergamot, etc.) are definitely in full swing now. This group is in the fence row between the pasture and the south hayfield. There are a few smaller patches along the lane that goes to the back pasture.

 

I don’t remember seeing these when I lived here before. Even when I moved back in 2013 there were just a few here and there.

 

Now there are big patches everywhere! There are MANY huge patches along the boundary of the pasture and the Rock Island Trail.

 

There is even a HUGE patch between the street and fence along the front of the pasture. The Bumblebees were on this patch by the hundreds. I never saw so many in one place at the same time. As strange as it may sound, I never even noticed this patch along the street until this year. Let me see… A neighbor cut this area before in 2013. In 2014 or 2015 (or both) we had an Amish cut it. Last year, I think the county did it. Anyway, we came home from somewhere one day and it was all cut down. I don’t cut the right of way because there are too many stumps for the mower and it is not very wide between the fence and deep ditch. There is a telephone pole in the way and I can get in there anyway unless I go all the way down to the end of the pasture. Then how do I get back out? 🙂 Excuses, excuses! Well, the other reason is that I don’t want to.

 

I wish I could get the red flowered Monarda started to do as good…

 

Some of the flowers had a lot of ants on them. Even though the flowers are pinkish, they are nice and provide food for bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and the hummingbird moths. They flower over a long period, too.

 

<<<<+>>>>

I just noticed the Teucrium canadense (American Germander) a couple of years ago next to a HUGE Multiflora Rose bush in the back pasture.

 

The individual flowers aren’t very big, so taking good photos wasn’t easy. ID wasn’t that hard, though.

 

While this species has a lot in common with other members of the mint family, this one is unique… There appears to be NO upper lip. You can see the two upper lobes that point upward like horns. Then the other two rounded side lobes that look like ears to me. Then, the larger lower lip with the cup-shaped bottom lobe… This is the only member of this family in Missouri with this unique corolla configuration.

 

Characteristic square stems…

 

Leaves are opposite, lanceolate, and sharply pointed…

 

I think we are blessed to have so many wildflowers on the farm that feed such a wide variety of insects and birds. I haven’t been to the swamp for several years, so I think I need to do that soon. Well, I guess it really isn’t a swamp, but that’s what I call it. Dad called the area “OH, you mean back in the corner”. Yep, back in the corner for sure. There are some very interesting wildflowers in the swamp and one I have seen nowhere else but here. Then again, I don’t get out much. 🙂 I will go check tomorrow… Oh. It is 1:28 AM. It is tomorrow already.

Until later… Stay well, be safe, stay positive, keep warm or cool depending on where you are. GET DIRTY if you can!

Overnight Disaster-Japanese Beetle Invasion

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all well. The Japanese Beetles (Popillia japonica) have been back for a while now, but they are getting ridiculous. Every year they come and feed mainly on the leaves of the Chinese Elms. They also eat the flowers on the roses. My plant tables next to and behind one of the sheds is under a Chinese Elm. It normally provides the perfect light for the potted plants, cactus, and succulents. The shade beds are also under a maple and two Chinese Elms. In that area, the light changes from shade to light shade.

Well, that is just nature. Until last year, there was really no problem. Then last year, the Japanese Beetle population turned into an invasion. I hoped that the colder than usual January would have helped control them and there wouldn’t be as many. But, that wasn’t the result. This year, they are worse than ever. Now, the Japanese Beetle lay eggs in the ground and then turn into their larvae stage. Then in June (maybe starting in late May), they become adults. Their main goal is to feed and mate.

They had really done no damage to the potted plants, mainly feeding on the leaves of the Chinese Elm. Then, on July 2 I noticed them on the Amorphophallus and a few on the Calla. So, I moved those two plants to the side porch.

Then, on July 4, it was much worse…

 

They attacked the Begonia ‘Frosty’ and even the Oxalis triangularis subsp. papilionaceae and Oxalis tetraphylla (Iron Cross).

 

GEEZ!!!

 

They are easy to get off. Just shake the plant they fly off.

 

The bowl I mix potting soil in had water in it and A LOT od drowned Japanese Beetles.

 

They attacked the Begonia ‘Brazilian Lady’…

 

And even the Bryophyllum daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands).

 

I went over to the Chinese Elm growing on the old back porch to get a photo, but they took off by the thousands!

 

They didn’t chew much on the Tradescantia sillamontana, but their leaves were covered in poop and debris from the elm tree.

 

I had to take all the plants off the longer table behind the shed and drag it (upsidedown) to the front porch. Then I took several wheelbarrow loads of plants…

The light here is not the best for some of the plants, either too much or not enough for some, but it will have to do for now. The beetles didn’t chew on all the plants I moved, but you never know. Not only that, they leave a big mess behind on the leaves from the elm tree. Fallen leaves and lots of poop. I watered the shade bed and the leaves of the Alocasia and Hosta were covered with poop and debris from the elm trees. So far they haven’t been feeding on them.

 

The Amorphophallus sp. is now safe on the side porch. Believe it or not, there are eleven Amorphophallus in this pot now… Up from two last year!

 

They had just chewed on a few leaves of the Calla, but I moved it to the side porch, too.

As far as the shade beds are concerned… It won’t be so shady now. Most of the plants will be OK except for maybe the Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’. Unless the beetles turn to the Hosta, Alocasia, and Heuchera.

I can see why the moles are so active in the yard in front of the chicken house and the shade beds. They are after the larvae… Spraying plants with neem oil doesn’t help fight against Japanese Beetles. About the only thing is to use milky spore which was developed by the USDA and applying it to the soil to kill their grubs.

You can read more about this crazy critter on the Wikipedia page by clicking HERE. Ther are thought to have come to the US on shipments of Iris bulbs from Japan before 1912… They have natural predators in Japan which keep them in control, but here and other countries they are now in, they have none… They feed on many plants besides the Chinese Elm, including many vegetables and other food crops and ornamentals.

Well, that’s it for this post. I hope you are all well and staying cool during the heat of the summer. Take care, stay well and be positive! Of course, GET DIRTY when you have the chance!

Beetles In The Pasture Video

Hello folks! I just wanted to show you a short video of the beetles I saw in the pasture a couple of days ago. I was living in Arkansas in 1989 (I think) in an old country home when I first saw this ritual. I saw them here a couple of years ago and then again a few days ago. I think they only do this a few days each year.

I was told the males fly around looking for a mate then go down into the grass. Well, I didn’t do any research for this post, so I’m not sure about the details…

I hope everyone is enjoying your 4th of July. Until next time, stay well, be safe and GET DIRTY!

<<<<UPDATE ON THIS VIDEO>>>

I looked up what type and species of beetle this could be on the Missouri Department of Conservation website. My best guess is that it is a Green June Beetle (Cotinis nitida). It is one of over 1,700 species of Scarab beetles native to North America above Mexico.

The Wikipedia has some interesting reading about this species. If this is indeed a June Beetle, it isn’t a dung beetle. Click HERE for the Wikipedia article.

Short Sunday Drive And A Visit

Echinacea paradoxa (Yellow Coneflower) on 7-1-18, #467-15.

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all doing very well. A week or so ago I went to visit a friend who lives a little farther in the country and noticed a few nice patches of Yellow Coneflower (Echinacea paradoxa) along the way. I had left my camera at home so I didn’t get a photo then. I am trying to remember to always take my camera because you never know what you will find to shoot. So, early Sunday evening I decided to go for a little drive. It was only a few miles away and I needed to take some photos.

 

Echinacea paradoxa is the only species in the genus to have yellow flowers. All others are purple shades. Hmmm… I thought there was a white-flowered species. Of course, that is not counting the varied colored and weird looking cultivars of Echinacea purpurea. As a matter of fact, I think I have seen a few with white flowers along the highway. Maybe they are a variation (mutation) of Echinacea purpurea. Echinacea paradoxa does hybridize with other species in the genus if they are close by.

Most of the plants are at least 3 feet tall, and some came up to my shoulder which is close to 5′. Well, I suppose I was standing a little lower than the plants. 🙂

 

The genus name comes from the Greek word, echinos, which means hedgehog or sea urchin because of the shape of the cone. The species name, paradoxa, is in reference to it being a paradox as to why its flowers are yellow instead of purple like the rest of the species in the genus. 

The cones remain erect after the flowers fade and the seeds are eaten by Goldfinches during the winter.

 

The leaves are very different from the Echinacea purpurea I brought home this spring.

 

Very interesting how a stem grows between the main stem and the leaf. Kind of like a sucker on a tomato.

I headed down the road and found…

 

A nice clump of Asclepias tuberosa known as the Butterfly Weed. I have a lot of Milkweed on the farm but NONE of these. There is a very small single clump across the back fence that I have been tempted to dig up, though. But when it is time to dig, I may not be able to find it. I could mark it with an electric fence post or something. Oh, yeah, it isn’t on our property. Oh well, maybe some will miraculously appear someday.

 

I had never been up close and personal with an Asclepias tuberosa before and this was my chance when no one was looking. Just look at this AWESOME flower!

 

Asclepias tuberosa does not have milk-sapped stems like most species of milkweeds. The flowers are a favorite food source of butterflies and bees and of course, the leaves are food for the Monarch Butterfly caterpillar.

 

The genus name comes from the Greek god of medicine, Asklepios. The species name is in reference to the plant’s deep taproot.

Then I ran across a plant I have seen along the highway in huge groups. I have often wanted to get out and photograph…

 

I didn’t know what this plant was until I got out of the car and saw its leaves. Instantly I knew it was a species of Baptisia. It is kind of hard to tell when you are driving down the highway about 60 mph. and have no safe place to pull over and investigate. When I returned home I did a search and found out it was definitely a Baptisia alba. The Wild White Indigo (or False White Indigo, False Indigo).

 

Tall flower spikes, easily between 12-18 inches long or more.

 

The flowers are pea-like, like other members of the Fabaceae family.

 

The leaves look similar to the Baptisia ‘Lunar Eclipse’ in my flower bed.

 

Not far from the first plant I saw was another small group. They had a more open growth habit and the flowers were not as close together on the stem.

I went down the road and headed back toward town. I got to my friend’s mother’s farm and decided I would get out and take a photo of her…

 

Opuntia compressa which is a species of Prickly Pear intermingled with some very healthy Poison Ivy.

 

The pads of this species are not near as thorny as the Prickly Pear I had in Mississippi. I think it was last year when I was talking to his mom when she was out working in the yard. The cactus had fruit at the time and I asked her if she had ever eaten any. She said no and went right over a picked one off and ate it. 🙂

 

She also has several Yucca filamentosa (Adam’s Needle) growing in her yard.

 

They were LOADED with flowers earlier now they are LOADED with seed pods.

Then I went down the road toward home but I had to take the opportunity…

 

To have a closer look at this Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla). I remember earlier when I first saw it I almost ran off the road. How could I have missed it before since I had driven by it so many times? This time there was a car in the driveway so I pulled in to see if I could take a photo. Low and behold, when the lady came to the door I recognized her. She was in my sister’s class in school. Anyway, she said the cactus was her brothers but said I could take a photo.

 

She came outside and we walked in her yard so I could get a good photo of the whole thing. She seemed a little embarrassed because the crabgrass was so tall and thick and started pulling it away from the cactus. I started helping a little and said I understood. It had been hot and then it rained… Not to mention chiggers and the grass was a little wet. You know how crabgrass is. She said she wasn’t bothered by chiggers as I could almost feel my hands starting to itch. 🙂 I hate chiggers and pulling crabgrass because of them.

As we walked back to the house, she said her brother “Bill” had a lot of plants and said that was his garden as she pointed toward it. She said he had more plants in the back. Many years ago, another friend of mine lived in her house for many years and had a tackle shop behind the house. He was a very well-known rod maker and famous for “The Crappie Stick”. Anyway, Bill now lives in his old shop.

We walked to the back of the house and Bill came out. We shook hands and I told him I hadn’t seen him in years. We started talking and he took me to his garden and showed me his Prickly Pear, cucumbers, and tomatoes.

 

He had a nice group of Tiger Lilies (Lilium lancifolium) which were the real deal!

 

My grandma had these in her yard but they eventually fizzled out. Big, bright orange, spotted flowers with recurved petals. The plants are very tall.

 

One characteristic of this species is the seeds that grow along the stem.

After visiting around the garden, we walked back over to his Tree Cholla. He said he had it for around 15 years and was given his start by another old friend around the corner who passed away several years ago.

So, Sunday was a good day. I never would have thought that Bill was a gardener. I took photos of the Echinacea paradoxa which is the only place I have ever seen them growing. I was able to photograph an Asclepias tuberosa and Baptisia alba without getting run over along the highway.

What discoveries have you made recently? That’s it for now. I hope you have a great week ahead. Stay well, positive, enjoy nature when you can, and GET DIRTY!

A Little Repotting

Adromischus cristatus at 1 1/2″ tall X 4″ wide on 10-17-17, #384-1.

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you well. Some of the plants in the beds are growing like crazy and I really need to work on the south bed before it gets out of hand. It is just to hot during the day and that bed remains in full sun until late in the afternoon. It was OK, then it rained last week so the plants I need to remove really shot up. Then, of course, the grass needs cut again and the shrubs in front of the house need to be trimmed now.

I took a little time last week to do a little repotting and dividing when the grass was wet. The Key Lime Pie (Adromischus cristatus) did very well last summer then went mostly dormant during the winter. The above photo shows what it looked like on October 17 last year. Most of the leaves fell off over the winter and then it grew an offset.

 

Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie) on June 14, 2018, #459-4.

It started growing more of these roots along the stem and the offset was also growing. At least I think this is an offset of this plant. 🙂 So, while everything was wet from all the rain, I decided to take the opportunity to give this plant a makeover on June 28.

 

I removed the plant from the pot and separated the offset

 

Then I put the older plants deeper into the soil and put the offset in its own pot. Now, I will see for sure if the offset is from this plant or a sneaky Bryophyllum daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands)(Syn. Kalanchoe daigremontiana) I don’t think it is a Kalanchoe (or whatever you call it now), because this offset appeared over the winter and the Kalanchoe was under the table and the Adromischus was on top. The “other plant” had no plantlets at the time either. It is so hard calling the Kalanchoe daigremontiana a Bryophyllum after all these years of it being a Kalanchoe.

The other strange thing is the new growth on top of one of the older plants… Hmmm…

 

Then on June 30, I separated the offsets from the Kalanchoe luciae (Paddle Plant, etc.).The original plant looks a little weird after it took a growth spurt last fall and its stem grew crooked. There are roots growing under the leaves but it would be very difficult to restart it the plant like that. So, I just put the plant farther down into the soil. I put her babies in their own pots so they can all do their own thing.

 

The Oscularia deltoides (Deltoid-Leaved Dew Plant) was growing all silly and lop-sided so I put it in a different pot, too.

I am trying a new potting soil this year that has a lot of perlite so I just added chicken grit to the mix. So far it seems to be working OK. Cactus and succulent specialists recommend mixing 2 parts potting soil with 1 part grit and 1 part pumice. I can’t find pumice around here and haven’t bought any online.

That’s it for this post and on to the next one. Stay well, be positive, and give someone a big hug. As always… GET DIRTY!

Ahhh… New Cactus Flowers

Hello there! I hope this finds you all doing very well and enjoying the heat of the summer. Thursday afternoon I was surprised to find the Mammillaria decipiens (Bird’s Nest Pincushion) with flowers. I noticed it had a few buds on June 24 and I took these photos on June 28.

 

I really enjoy cactus and this one is one of my more recent finds from Wal-Mart on March 18 (2018). I put it in a larger pot shortly after I brought it home because the side of the one it was in was bulging.

 

I really like it when my cactus flowers, especially when they aren’t pink… Mammillaria decipiens have long white radial spines that grow sideways from the tubercles and brown central spines that stick out like stiff hair. Cactus that have protruding tubercles like this one are often called nipple cactus. OUCH!

 

The Mammillaria pringlei (Lemon Ball Cactus) is also at it again after MONTHS of buds. It started budding right after its last flush of flowers in October-November. It is so weird how long it takes for buds to open.

 

The “definitely pink” flowers are arranged in a circle around the top of the cactus. I guess they are its halo. 🙂

 

They start closing up in the late afternoon/early evening and kind of resemble tiny tulips.

 

The Mammillaria elongata (Lady Finger Cactus, Golden Stars) has remnants of a few flowers when I brought it home from Wal-Mart on March 18. Of course, there were “strawflowers” hot-glued to the top of a few of the spiny fingers. Now I see it has a fruit where the flower had been. I never had a cactus do that before. I always remove the strawflowers the best I can without damaging the plant. Supposedly the hot glue will eventually fall off. Removing the glue yourself is very tricky and you can damage the plant if you force it off. Been there, done that. Every so often I check to see if more will come off with a little gentle persuasion. Sometimes it is just stuck in the needles, but sometimes it is stuck on the fleshy part.

Personally, I think hot-gluing strawflowers on cactus and painting them different colors is inhumane to plants and is also a deceptive selling tactic.

I think this is one of the shortest posts I ever made. Well, the next one will also be short.

Until next time, I hope you stay well, be positive, and GET DIRTY!

 

 

Holy Hosta

The original Hosta bed I made after returning back to the family farm in 2013. I brought these six Hosta with me from Mississippi. From left to right: Hosta ‘Red October’, Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’, Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’, Hosta ‘Francis Williams’, Hosta ‘Dream Queen’, and Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’. This photo was taken on June 8, 2013, #154-10.

OK, so maybe they aren’t exactly holy, but I do seem to spend a little time bowing around them and on my knees pulling out grass and weeds. Kind of like meditation… I don’t spend enough time doing either one. Prayer is easy, though. 🙂

Hello, everyone! I hope this post finds you all well and enjoying the great outdoors when you aren’t inside enjoying the AC. I now have 14 Hosta cultivars and have lost four over the years. They are very easy to grow if you follow a few basic rules and give them an environment they like. For more information, you can read HOSTA: Information and Sources I wrote especially for Hosta. Each Hosta cultivar below is linked to their own page to the right if you would like to read more about them.

Plants of the World Online lists 21 species of Hosta but I’m not sure how many of them were actually used to make the cultivars. There are several websites that give a lot of information, depending on what you are looking for. I like The Hosta Helper by Plants Galore. It says W.George Schmid found evidence of 43 different species and 16 different naturally occurring variations (varieties) in the wild. In 1988, Paul Aden wrote there were at least 600 registered cultivars. In 2010, hybridizer and author Mark Zillis wrote there were over 8,000 identified types of Hosta and over 5,000 registered cultivars with the American Hosta Society. The Hosta Helper has information on 9,425 species and named cultivars (registered and non-registered) with photos of 3,107.

I enjoyed living at the mansion in Mississippi, but many Hosta cultivars just don’t do well in the south and neither do Heuchera and other favorite Hosta companions. Along with the Hosta listed in the above photo, I had also bought a Hosta ‘Robert Frost’ and ‘Josephine’ while living in Mississippi which didn’t survive there.

When I moved back to the family farm in mid-Missouri in 2013, I brought the remaining six Hosta with me. I dug a bed for them where I had a flower bed back in the early 1980’s when I first moved to the farm after my grandpa passed away. The mess behind the Hosta is on a concrete slab where grandpas old metal shed was. I guess dad tore it down many years ago after they moved to the farm in 1996. Well, I don’t know when he tore it down actually, but it isn’t there now.

I planted the Iris in this bed here in the early 1980’s and was surprised to see they were still coming up after 30 years. Back then this was a sunny bed with no trees now it is shade with three big trees. Not exactly an ideal spot for Iris but great for Hosta. My Hosta bed in the 1980’s was along the northeast corner of my grandparent’s house. Now that the house is gone, it is a sunny bed.

 

<<<<2015>>>>

Original Hosta bed on June 3, 2015, #265-16.

Along with the Hosta, I also brought the Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chips’ I had bought from Lowe’s in Greenville, Mississippi in 2009 or 2010. I added the Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ and Hosta ‘Guacamole’ (far left) in 2014.

Hosta ‘Francis Williams’ didn’t do well in 2014 and didn’t return in 2015. While ‘Dream Queen’ did very well in 2013 and 2014, it was very late to come up in 2015 and barely grew. It didn’t return in 2015.

You will also notice the Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ in the above photo not doing so well. The Iris was also doing very well and spreading like crazy. They are a beautiful gold color but don’t flower well now because of all the shade.

 

<<<<2017>>>>

The original Hosta bed on April 23, 2017, #321-2-10.

The 2016-2017 winter was very mild and we had an early spring. The above photo was taken on April 23, 2017 and the Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ (right) and Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’ (center) were already beginning to look very good. The Hosta ‘Red October’ was still doing well although it is a medium-sized cultivar. You can barely see ‘Guacamole’ (far left) and ‘Krossa Regal’ isn’t even visible in this photo. As time went by, I knew Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ needed a change.

 

The new shade bed on May 7, 2017, #327-24.

The area on the east side of grandmas old goldfish pool had been driving me crazy for quite a while. I wanted a shade bed all the way around it like I had before but conditions had drastically changed since the early 1980’s. I had put a brick walkway around the pool and made flower beds between the bricks and the fences that used to be here. The bricks were still there but under several inches of soil and grass. The fences were gone and the tree roots were also a big problem. But, I went to work and removed the bricks and dug the area up in 2017 anyway and added four new Hosta and three new Heuchera. Hosta from left to right are Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’, Hosta ‘Rainforest Surprise’, Hosta ‘Abuqua Drinking Gourd’, and Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’. The Heuchera are ‘Southern Comfort, ‘Venus‘ and ‘Obsidian‘. I also bought a Leptinella squalida ‘Platt’s Black’ which is on the left side of the tree. I had also bought a bag of Caladium ‘John Peed” bulbs and put them here and there in this bed. I also put the Calla I bought in this bed but it isn’t in this photo.

 

New corner shade bed on May 23, 2017, #332-5.

I bought the Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ in 2017 which was my first gold-leaved cultivar and put it, along with the Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’, in what I call the corner shade bed. I also moved the ailing Heuchera “Palace Purple’ from the original bed here along with an offset from Hosta ‘Red October’ (far right).

 

The new shade bed on September 10, 2017, #373-18.

About four months later everything was doing very well. I had also bought several other Caladiums and add them to this bed and another one in the corner bed.

 

<<<<2018>>>>

Original Hosta bed on May 6, 2018, #436-54.

The winter was a weird one for sure and we had a very cold January. A few of the Hosta started sprouting the last part of February-early March but that was all they did for a long time. Cold temps hung on and it was a good thing they didn’t start to leaf out. I kept them covered with leaves the best I could but sometimes the wind would blow them off. FINALLY, spring did arrive and the Hosta started growing.

As you can tell from the above photo, the Hosta ‘Guacamole’ and ‘Red October’ next to it were not happy. I was busy with other things and didn’t have time to investigate right away.

 

Corner shade bed on May 6, 2018, #436-55.

In the above photo on May 6, the Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chips’ were flowering up a storm. They also suffered a loss during the winter but are doing handsomely well now.  The Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ and ‘Krossa Regal’ made it through the winter with flying colors as did the Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’. The Iris fulva (between the tree and fish pool) I brought from Mississippi had always done very well but have really struggled since this past winter. No flowers this year…

 

The new shade bed on May 6, 2018.

All the new Hosta came up in this bed except ‘Rainforest Sunrise’. It was a very nice Hosta but you just never know. The Heuchera were doing very well until something snacked on ‘Obsidian’ (front right). Then something started digging in front of ‘Southern Comfort (next to the tree) and somehow affected its growth. Whatever happened affected its crown and it went downhill fast. I decided to move it to the corner bed to see if it would recover.

I must apologize for the untidiness of the beds and the surroundings. The concrete slab behind the original bed and fish pool seem to be an easy place to put to put branches when they fall out of the trees. There are no fish in the old fish pool because there are cracks in the side. I also get behind weeding and trimming sometimes but I take photos anyway.

 

The original Hosta bed on June 21, 2018, #462-21.

On June 21st I finally dug under Hosta ‘Red October’ to see what was ailing it. To my surprise, there was a HUGE hole right under it. The roots under the plant weren’t even touching the soil and any water it was getting was going right down the hole. The whole area, even under Hosta ‘Guacamole’ and the Iris, was a series of holes that had been made by a mole. So, I dug the area really good and moved the Hosta‘ Red October and replaced it with the new Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’. I also divided Hosta ‘Guacamole’ and put half in the new shade bed.

 

Corner shade bed on June 21, 2018.

I put the new Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ in the corner bed behind ‘Dancing Queen’ and ‘Kross Regal’. Right now it looks weird and you might be thinking the smaller Hosta should be in front. Well, ‘Blue Angel’ is a giant type and someday it will be MUCH larger than the other two. Patience is supposed to be a virtue but sometimes I wonder. Something seems a little off though, I must admit. I bought Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ on June 7 and it has barely grown a lick…

I put the Heuchera ‘Southern Comfort’ to the right of ‘Palace Purple’. It is not recovering and growing new leaves now. I thought I was going to lose ‘Palace Purple’ a few years ago but it has certainly made a huge comeback in this area as well. You just never know…

 

The new shade bed on June 21, 2018, #462-22.

The new shade bed is shaping up but there are a lot of bare spots. The third Hosta from the right is the other half of Hosta ‘Guacamole. The second plant from the left on the back row is the new Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’. So, on the back row, from left to right, is Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’, Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’, Hosta ‘Guacamole’, Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’, and Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’. The front row from left to right is one of the Hosta ‘Red October’ (in front of the tree), a smaller Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’, the NEW Hosta ‘Whirlwind’, Heuchera ‘Venus’, and Heuchera ‘Obsidian’. The Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ has really struggled since it was munched on the last of April.

The new Heuchera ‘Lime Ricky’ and the Leptinella squalida ‘Platt’s Black’ are on the other side of the tree on the left.

 

Shade beds from the northwest corner on June 21, 2018, #462-24.

This is a view of the shady area from the northwest corner. The Alocasia are on a concrete slab around the barrel that is covering the pipes from my grandparents old well. Man, that was some good water! The HUGE Alocasia to the left of the barrel is ‘Calidora’. The wind blew it over TWICE and the petioles grew crooked in only a few hours before I saw it on its side. It only took a few hours for them to get crooked and I thought they would straighten back up. Now I have a concrete block next to the pot so it won’t blow over. Bricks were usually enough before. The four pots along the goldfish pool are Alocasia gageana, the Dwarf Alocasia.

 

Shade beds from the northeast corner on June 21, 2018, #462-25.

This is a view of the shady area from the northeast corner. One of the other Hosta ‘Red October’ is next to the tree in the middle of the photo. It is doing so much better.

Trying to find a good spot for Hosta around trees can be a big pain because of the roots. Hosta don’t seem to mind tree roots, though, as long as they have soil and ample water.

 

<<<<CURRENT HOSTA, A THROUGH W>>>>

Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ on June 21, 2018, #462-2.

Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’

2014 Hosta of the Year

The Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ is one of the four Hosta I bought from Lowe’s in 2017. It has AWESOME blue-green leaves that are very thick, puckered, heavily veined, corrugated, and cupped. This cultivar grows to around 18″ tall with clumps as wide as 36 to 48″ after a few years.

 

Leaf of the Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ on June 21, 2018, #462-3.

The cupped leaves are very interesting. The underside of the leaves have a powdery appearance which gives a two-toned effect. The thickness and texture of the leaves make Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ slug and snail resistant.

 

<<<<+>>>>

Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ on June 21, 2018, #462-4.

Hosta ‘Blue Angel’

I brought this Hosta home from Mast’s Greenhouse while plant shopping with my sister and brother-in-law on June 7. This is one of the giant cultivars that can grow to 36″ tall and have clumps as wide as 72″ in time. Information online says it is one of the fastest growing of the blue Hosta and multiplies more rapidly. Well, it has been in the ground for a few weeks and hasn’t grown that fast yet. It is still only 4″ tall x 9 1/2″ wide. It just seems a little strange why it is so small if it is going to be a giant. If you compare it to, for example, Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ which is also new. Not only that, this ‘Blue Angel’ is already a small clump of plants, not just a single specimen. So, why is it still so small? Could it be mislabeled? There were several pots of ‘Blue Angel at Mast’s and they were all small like this. Then when we went to Muddy Creek Greenhouse up the road, they also had several ‘Blue Angel’ that were only a little larger. Only time will tell… Its almost like they were mislabeled.

 

<<<<+>>>>

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ on June 20, 2018, #461-10.

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ is another cultivar I added in 2017. It is the first miniature Hosta I have tried so it will be interesting to watch. The clump measured only 5″ tall x 9″ wide when I took the above photo on June 20.

 

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ flowers on June 20, 2018, #461-11.

Even the flower stems are very short, measuring only 6 1/2″ tall.

 

Leaves of the Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ on June 21, 2018, #462-5.

The largest leaf measures only approximately 1 1/2″ wide x 2″ long. The leaves are very thick and smooth. Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ is a multiple award winner.

 

<<<<+>>>>

Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ on 6-20-18, #461-12.

Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’

I added this cultivar in 2014 and it is the first gold-leaved Hosta I have tried. Its leaves are so bright it brightens up the whole area. Even from a distance, you can see this Hosta glowing. The clump is now 10 1/2″ tall x 24″ wide.

 

Leaf of the Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ on June 21, 2018, #462-6.

The leaves aren’t all that thick but they are heavily veined. The leaf edges are kind of rippled which is known as a “pie-crust” edge. The largest leaf is currently about 5″ wide x 7″ long.

 

<<<<+>>>>

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ on June 21, 2018, #462-7.

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’… I always wanted a Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ since I heard about it a few years ago. I like HUGE plants and this Hosta is reportedly now the largest cultivar in the world. It can grow 48 to 60″ tall x 72 to 96″ wide when it reaches maturity after maybe five years. When I moved back here in 2013, my eye was on the corner next to the side porch for a Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ but I didn’t want to pay the price online. Last year I bought a Leucocasia (formerly Colocasia) gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ and put it next to the porch. A few weeks later I found ‘Empress Wu’ at the garden center in Clinton but they were from Monrovia and still over $20.00. Then, to my complete surprise, I found a few at Muddy Creek Greenhouse while plant shopping with my sister an niece and they were half the price and not as large. I didn’t have the money at the time, but a few days later I did, so I high-tailed it to the greenhouse and bought one along with the Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’.  Since I already had the Leucocasia gigantea where I would have put ‘Empress Wu’, I put it in the corner. Then this spring I moved ‘Empress Wu’ out of the corner where it could have more room. The ‘Thailand Giant’ bulb rotted near the end of the winter, so I bought a bulb and planted it several feet away from ‘Empress Wu’. It is good to have the largest Hosta in the World and what was the largest Colocasia cultivar. I guess we can’t say that ‘Thailand Giant’ is the largest Colocasia anymore since the name changed.

 

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ leaf on June 3, 2018, #452-12.

Currently, the Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ measures 18″ tall x 32″ wide and is MUCH bigger than it was by the end of last season. Its largest leaf is now  7 1/2″ wide x 11 1/2″ long but can grow as long as 18″.

 

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ flowers on June 21, 2018, #462-8.

It started sending up a flower stem around the first of June and now the stem is 31″ tall.

 

<<<<+>>>>

Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ on 6-20-18, #461-13, #461-13.

Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’

This is another Hosta I brought home from Lowe’s in 2017 for the new shade bed. It is a “non-registered” sport of Hosta ‘Orange Marmalade’ but was granted a U.S. patent in 2011. Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ was created by Marco Fransen of the Netherlands. The plant measured 11 3/4″ tall x 18″ wide when the above photo was taken.

 

Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ leaf on June 21, 2018, #462-9.

It has very bright creamy white leaves with irregular green margins and the largest is currently 5 1/4″ wide by 9″ long. As you can see in the above photo a firefly is resting on a leaf. We have more fireflies than I have seen in MANY years so you are probably going to see them in several photos as time goes by.

 

Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ flowers on June 20, 2018, #461-14.

The buds on this Hosta are very tight and clustered together while others are more open. The flower stem is very stiff and is currently 20″ tall. I think this is a nice cultivar and worth watching for.

 

<<<<+>>>>

Hosta ‘Guacamole’ in the original Hosta bed on June 21, 2018, #462-10.

Hosta ‘Guacamole’

The Hosta ‘Guacamole’ has done very well every year since I added it in 2014. This spring it was slower than usual to come up and then very slow growing when it did. Then I found the mole holes under it and ‘Red October’. When I removed it from the bed to “fix” the mole holes, I decided to divide it and leave half the clump in the original bed and put the other half in the new bed. The clump in the original bed currently measures 11″ tall x 18″ wide.

 

Hosta ‘Guacamole’ in the new shade bed on June 21, 2018, #462-11.

The clump I put in the new bed measures 9″ tall x 19″ wide.

 

Hosta ‘Guacamole’ leaf on 6-21-18, #462-12.

The leaves of Hosta ‘Guacamole are a nice medium green with a narrow irregular darker green margin. The largest leaf is 5 1/4″ wide x 7″ long. The leaves change color somewhat during the summer.

<<<<+>>>>

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ in the corner shade bed on June 21, 2018, #462-13.

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’

I bought my first Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ from Bluestone Perennials in the early 1980’s and it was one of the first I bought in 2009 when I was in Mississippi. This cultivar is definitely one of the classics of all time with its nice blue-gray leaves and unique vase shape. It looks awesome when it is happy. Although Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ can grow to 36″ tall and form clumps as wide as 60″, it is a slow grower. So, if you purchase one, you may not want to plant it with the larger, faster-growing cultivars at first. I can’t very well measure the clump because it has been divided, but the largest plant measures 8 1/2″ tall x 13″ wide.

I moved it to the corner bed in 2017 because it wasn’t happy in the other bed. Strange as it may sound, I don’t think it liked the Iris. I divided the clump and wound up with five plants. Two of the three grew faster while one was much slower and the other two… Well, they barely grew at all so this spring I moved them to other locations. They STILL aren’t growing well like they have a problem. I don’t understand how that can happen when they came from the same clump and did very well before.

 

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ leaf on June 21, 2018, #462-14.

The largest leaf measures 3 1/2″ wide x 6 1/2″ long.

 

<<<<+>>>>

Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ on June 14, 2018, #459-36.

Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’

Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ is another awesome cultivar I bought in 2009 when I was living at the mansion in Mississippi. While most of the other Hosta barely did OK there, this one did very well. It has continued doing very well here and has grown to 20 1/2″ tall and the clump currently measures 50″ wide. It usually flowers in June, but for some reason, it appears it is going to skip this year. Maybe it will be a late bloomer this year.

 

Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ leaf on June 14, 2018, #459-37.

Its AWESOME dark green leaves are fairly thick, heavily veined, ribbed, corrugated and puckered making it very slug and snail resistant. The leaves are oval to round tapering to a point. The largest leaf is currently 8 1/2″ wide x 12″ long.

 

<<<<+>>>>

Hosta ‘Red October’ on June 21, 2018.

Hosta ‘Red October’

My Hosta ‘Red October’ is another cultivar I bought in 2009 while living at the mansion in Mississippi. It is considered the best red-stemmed Hosta and gets its name from its red petioles. Although its name may suggest it flowers in October, it starts for me in September.

It had been growing in the original bed since 2013 but I moved it this spring. Well, I mentioned the story earlier in this post about the mole holes. I also moved it because Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ and Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans are so big that ‘Red October’ looked a little out of place because it is much smaller.

 

Hosta ‘Red October’ on June 24, 2017, #349-46.

It is having its issues right now but is a really nice looking Hosta when it is feeling well. The above photo of Hosta ‘Red October’ was taken last June.

 

Hosta ‘Red October’ leaf on June 21, 2018, #462-16.

The long, lance-shaped leaves have chalky-white undersides. Kind of makes you wonder if it has powdery mildew or something. The leaves are not slug and snail resistant.

 

<<<<+>>>>

Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ on June 20, 2018, #461-16.

Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’

I bought this legendary Hosta from Mast’s Greenhouse this spring and was glad I found it. It is considered a giant type and will eventually grow to a height of 36″ and have a mound up to around 70″ wide. It currently measures 8″ tall x 14″ wide. It is starting to flower and currently, the flower stem is 17″ tall. Well, it wasn’t that tall when I took the photo but several days have passed and it is growing quickly.

This multiple award winner was registered in 1980.

 

Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ leaf on June 21, 2018, #462-17.

Someday the leaves will grow much larger, but when this photo was taken the largest was 5 1/4″ wide x 7 1/2″ long.

 

<<<<+>>>>

Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’ on June 14, 2018, #459-42.

Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’

OK, folks… This photo of Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’ is pale in comparison to what it looks like in person. I have taken a lot of photos of this cultivar over the past few years and none are good enough to capture its awesomeness.  Right now, the clump measures 22″ x 41″, but in time it will average at least 28″ tall x 60″ or so wide. This is for sure a legendary giant blue Hosta that was first introduced in Germany by Georg Arends in 1905. There are at least 25 registered sports from this cultivar and it is one of the parents of at least 85 registered seedlings.

 

Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’ leaf on June 14, 2018, #459-43.

Its AWESOME blue-green leaves are heavily veined and corrugated making it slug and snail resistant. Its largest leaf measures 10″ wide x 12″ long.

 

<<<<+>>>>

Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ on June 21, 2018, #462-18.

Hosta ‘Whirlwind’

I bought this nice Hosta at Lowe’s on June 10. I didn’t know anything about it but I liked the color and its really nice, thick leaves. It is classed as a medium sized Hosta that typically matures at 18″ tall with clumps 40″ wide after a few years. It is currently 8″ tall x 15″ wide.

 

A leaf of the Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ on June 21, 2018, #462-19.

The leaf colors change with age, light, and time of the summer.

 

An older leaf of the Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ on June 21, 2018, #462-20.

The largest Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ leaf is currently 3″ wide x 5 1/2″ long.

 

<<<<GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN>>>>

Hosta ‘Dream Queen’ on June 29, 2014, #230-57.

Hosta ‘Dream Queen’

I bought Hosta ‘Dream Queen’ while living at the mansion in Mississippi in 2009. I brought it with me when I moved back to the farm and it very well until the spring of 2015. It was very slow coming up andf barely grew all summer and didn’t return in 2016.

 

Hosta ‘Francis Williams’ on June 1, 2013, #151-50.

Hosta ‘Francis Williams’

I also bought my Hosta ‘Francis Williams’ in 2009 while I was in Mississippi then bought it with me. It did very well in 2013, but not so good in 2014. It didn’t return in 2015. Hosta ‘Francis Williams’ is a multiple award winner that has remained popular for MANY years. It has a long list of registered sports and progeny.

 

Hosta ‘Queen Josephine’ on May 1, 2009, #12-39.

Hosta ‘Queen Josephine’

I bought this Hosta in 2009. I think I bought it from a seller on Ebay that had it listed as Hosta ‘Josephine’. It isn’t ‘Josephine’ but does look similar to ‘Queen Josephine’ so maybe the seller was misinformed when they acquired it. This plant fizzled out in 2012 and never made it to Missouri.

 

Hosta ‘Rainforest Sunrise’ on July 9, 2017, #355-24.

Hosta ‘Rainforest Sunrise’

I bought this Hosta ‘Rainforest Sunrise’ from Lowe’s in 2017 for the new shade bed. It did perfectly fine all summer but did not return in 2018.

 

Hosta ‘Robert Frost’ on April 15, 2012, #86-42.

Hosta ‘Robert Frost’

I bought my Hosta ‘Robert Frost’ from Lowe’s in 2009 while living at the mansion in Mississippi. Although it is a multiple award winner, it never did very well. Most of the time I thought it was going to die. It kept hanging on and eventually gave it up in 2012.

I started writing this post on June 21 and just now finished it on the 28th. 🙂 Now I can work on a few more because there have been some interesting things happening. I had an unexpected visitor today stuck between the screen and glass of the sliding door. It wasn’t actually stuck, it crawled through a hole in the screen then couldn’t find its way back out… Care to guess what it was?

Well, I better stop for now. I hope you are doing well. Until next time, take care, be safe, stay positive, and GET DIRTY!

Mid-June Plant & Bed Update

Acalypha pendula (Chenille Plant) on 6-14-18, #459-1.

Hello folks! I hope this finds everyone well. I don’t know about where you live, be it has been pretty hot here lately. It hasn’t been so bad the last couple of days and we were cooled down by a nice rain today.

I haven’t made a post since June 12, so I thought I better make one so you can see how the beds are doing and the plants are growing. Even though I haven’t made any posts I have taken well over 100 photos. I have been kind of busy outside and working on pages for the new plants. Then I get tired and wind up leaning back in my chair and falling asleep. It is amazing how well the office chair doubles as a recliner when I put my feet up on the desk.

Some of the plants have grown so fast the 89 photos I took last week are already out of date. BUT, don’t worry because I took 22 more today. I am going to leave out the Hosta and make a separate post for them.

Last year I put the Acalypha pendula (Chenille Plant) in the new shade bed. This year I decided to put in a larger pot that way I can bring it inside for the winter much easier. They are very easy to grow and make very good plants for hanging pots.

 

The Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ is blooming up a storm right now. It has five flower stems and the tallest is 20″. It will continue flowering all summer and even some in the winter.

 

Well, I was hoping for flowers but maybe these Amorphophallus are too young still. I am not sure how old or large the bulbs have to be before they produce flowers. There were two plants in the pot when I brought it home last year, now there are SIX! One of them is just beginning to peek through the soil and the tallest is now 16″. The part in the middle that looks like a stem is actually the petiole and what looks like multiple branches on top is all one leaf.

If you remember a few posts ago I had found three bulbs and pushed the “unknown” bulb in the center down into the pot. Well, oddly enough, when it came up, it looked like a Colocasia esculenta. GEEZ! Ok, when I brought the pot home last year, I just transferred the whole thing into a larger pot without disturbing the plants. There was this “strange” looking stem in the middle with no leaves or anything. So, as I mentioned in a few posts ago, this spring I pulled the “strange” stem up and there were no roots. I could tell there was a “bulb” on top of it, which I hadn’t taken a closer look at before. Umm… So, I pushed it down into the soil. Next thing I knew, it was coming up and it looked like a Colocasia esculenta. Two thoughts came into my mind, actually three. One was, “Who would put a Colocasia esculenta in a pot with Amorphophallus? The second was, “WOW, it sure fooled you!” The third was to put it in a pot by itself in case it wasn’t a Colocasia esculenta. No matter what it was, it had to come out of the pot! Well, time has passed and it STILL looks like a Colocasia esculenta.

 

The northeast corner bed underwent quite a change since the Conoclinum coelestinum (Hardy Ageratum, Floss Flower or whatever you want to call them) didn’t come up. They have been on both sides of the steps for MANY YEARS. Finally, I noticed a couple as I was digging out the old dirt and adding “the good stuff”. This bed has the Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’, three Agastache aurantiaca ‘Apricot Sprite’, Heliotrope ‘Marine’ (far right), Gomphrena globosa ‘Gnome White’ and ‘Purple’ (two of each), Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper), and the two Hardy Ageratum. The Cenchrus setaceus (Purple Fountain Grass) is behind the Agastache where it wasn’t intended to be. It was supposed to go where the Heliotrope wound up and the Crocosmia x Curtonus ’Lucifer’ was supposed to go where the Purple Fountain Grass is. I thought the Heliotrope wasn’t going to make it because a mole kept digging it up. This week the mole left it alone and it perked up…

 

I know this looks like a mess, but what can I say. It’s a work in progress I think. The Crocosmia x Curtonus ’Lucifer’ wound up in the corner behind Hosta ‘Empress Wu’. I moved the biggest clump of Achillea millefolium in front of the barn but didn’t move the other clump by the wall. I had to move the Hosta farther away from the corner because it will get MUCH bigger in time. The “Elephant Ear” in the right side of the photo is the Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant, which used to be Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ before the name changed. I put the new Astilbe x arendensii Fanal’ kind of in front of the Hosta and to the left a little. The three Agastache ‘Kudos Gold’ are next to the porch and doing AWESOME. I am going to put the Monarda didyma Super Buzz™ ’Cherry Pops’ (GEEZ) next to the steps instead of next to the back porch. I put the two largest Colocasia esculenta bulbs (tubers) farther up in this bed, too. The other Astilbe and Geranium sanguineum (Bloody Cranesbill) are also there.

I almost forgot to mention the Lysimachia nummularia ‘Goldilocks’ (Creeping Jenny) that is really enjoying itself.

 

The south bed from the left… A continual work in progress but almost there. I had a few big surprises in this bed. The Marigold ‘Brocade’ and Talinum paniculatum Jewels of Opar) didn’t come up very well from seed probably because of the winter. Actually, it was a good thing so I am definitely not going to complain. The Celosia spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ made up for them and as usual, there are MANY more than I can use. I have already transplanted all I need along the wall and there are hundreds left over. I hate to pull them up and throw them away, but if I transplant them somewhere else just think of how many there will be next spring. Maybe I can move some here and there on the farm along the fence rows. Umm… Then, next thing you know, the Missouri Conservation Department can add them to their list of wildflowers. 🙂 Wonder what would happen if I scatter some seed along the highway? I am not going to say they are invasive. The other surprise was all the Rudbeckia hirta ‘Denver Daisy’ that came up from seed. Luckily they came up in a group so I decided to just leave them where they were.

The Elephant Garlic always does very well in the south bed. I measured the flower clusters and they are 5″ across.

 

The south bed from the right side… The Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ is soooo much happier after I moved the clump of Elephant Garlic from behind it. After all these years of not spreading, it is now 3 times the size it was before.

Plants in the south bed, from downspout to downspout, include in alphabetical order: Achillea ‘Moondust’, Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum (Elephant Garlic), Buddleja ‘White Profusion’, Celosia spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon, Rudbeckia hirta, Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherokee Sunset’, Salvia farinacea Cathedral™ ‘Blue Bicolor’, Salvia nemorosa ‘New Dimensions Blue’, Salvia pratensis Fashionista™ ‘Midnight Model’, Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ (‘May Night’), Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ears), Tagetes patula (Marigold) ‘Brocade’, and Talinum paniculatum (Jewels of Opar). I still have to transplant a few ‘Brocade’ Marigold and Jewels of Opar into this bed, but not near as many as I did last year. Even though they did not come up well here from self-sowing, they came up in the other beds.

 

The Rudbeckia hirta ‘Denver Daisy’ are doing really well and blooming like crazy. The above photo was taken on June 14 while the photo of the bed was taken on the 20th. So, you can see there are many more flowers now. Some of the flowers measure 4 1/2″ across.

Ignore the Canna. Pretend it is invisible…

 

Out of all the flowers in the ‘Denver Daisy’ colony, there are two plants that are producing doubles… The above photo was taken in the afternoon while the one before it was taken in the morning. That may be one reason why it looks like it is a different shade. The other reason is that it kind of is a little darker.

 

There are several different colors in the Cathedral™ Series of Salvia farinacea but I think these are ‘Blue Bicolor’. The tag with them just says ‘Cathedral™ Series’. I have to keep an eye on these three plants because I think they require a little more moisture. Unfortunately, these may not return next spring because we are not in their “zone”. Lowe’s shouldn’t sell perennials that are not perennial in their local store’s zone. They probably didn’t realize it or maybe they wouldn’t have. I grew Salvia farinacea ‘Blue Bedder’ from seed in Mississippi.

 

The Salvia pratensis Fashionista™ ‘Midnight Model’ are nice plants and

 

They have really neat flowers. Their top lip looks like a hook! I have to make sure I keep up with deadheading or these plants may stop flowering.

 

The above photo of the Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherokee Sunset’ was taken on June 15. They are looking even better now and some of the flowers are 5″ across!

 

On the other side of the downspout is the southeast corner bed. The Jewels of Opar were not all that close to this bed last summer, but as you can see a few came up here this spring. I am going to move them and the Marigolds to the south bed this week. The Celosia spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ doesn’t need to be here either. This bed is mainly for the Angelonia angustifolia hybrid Angelface® ‘Perfectly Pink’. There are also a couple of the Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) I brought home earlier in this bed. On the right is one of the clumps of Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ears) that has done well here. The Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo) in the corner is doing well after a cold winter that I thought did it in.

 

The flowers on the Angelonia ‘Perfectly Pink’ are really interesting!

 

The Cannas are looking good now and I am much happier since they are spread out the entire length of the garage. They grew to 12′ tall last year but they may not grow as tall this year since I dug them all up. I put several Colocasia esculenta along the front of them but they have barely started growing. That may have been a mistake, but we shall see in time. I think they will be OK as long as I give them plenty of water.

I have a few more photos, but it’s getting late and I am about to fall asleep in my chair again. SO….

Until next time, stay well, stay positive, be thankful and GET DIRTY!!!

New Plants Update

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all well. Before I get sidetracked I wanted to make a post about the latest new additions. I will need them as I move from bed to bed getting them ready for the summer. Oh, summer is already here, huh? Well, I had to think of a good reason that didn’t sound like an excuse.

The plants I bought on May 5 are all doing well. When My sister wanted to go back to the greenhouses on June 7, of course, I went. I may have gotten a little carried away but I visualized in my mind where they all would go (for the most part). The south bed needs work for sure so most of what I brought home will go there. Then on Sunday, I went to Lowe’s and found a few more plants. Actually, I went to Sedalia to go grocery shopping but my first stop was Lowe’s. I didn’t want my ice cream to melt. 🙂

It took as long time at Lowe’s and I put several succulents back I decided I didn’t need. Over the years I have learned what succulents work OK over the winter in the house. No need to buy, no matter how AWESOME some of the Echeveria look during the summer, they don’t work well in lower light inside over the winter. I put back a really nice Crassula because of the same reason. The worse things was seeing all the cactus and succulents labeled “succulent”. GEEZ! What is their name, for crying out loud?!?! You know how many cactus and succulent species are variable that look so much alike? Resisting plants is not my strong point, but I did…

Anyway, after I bought only a few plants and was leaving, I saw the Achillea ‘Moondust’. So, I picked one out and went back inside and paid.

 

You can’t go wrong with Achillea in the full sun so this one will go in the south bed for sure. The leaves are quite a bit different than Achillea millefolium, so I need to do some investigation. Is Achillea ‘Moondust’ it a cultivar of a certain species or a hybrid? Hmmm…

 

Agastache ‘Kudos Gold’.

I bought two more Agastache ‘Kudos™ Gold’ to go with the first one I bought on May 5. They will go in the north bed next to the porch steps on the right side.

 

Agastache aurantiaca ‘Apricot Sprite’ after I brought them home on 6-7-18, #455-2.

I bought most of my plants from Wildwood Greenhouse. It is the smallest greenhouse here but they always have a very good selection and their prices are very reasonable. I bought these Agastache aurantiaca ‘Apricot Sprite’ for the bed on the left side of the north porch. That bed is basically finished now but I ran into a snag… That is for another post :).

 

GEEZ! Yeah, I know the Angelonia angustifolia hybrid Angelface® ‘Perfectly Pink’ is pinkish but I have the perfect spot for them. I put them in the southeast corner bed.

 

The Astilbe x arendsii ‘Fanal’ is one of the only plants I bought that I have no idea where it will go. Probably somewhere in the north bed between the Colocasia esculenta and Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’. Wildwood had several of these and they are very nice plants in good sized pots for a very good price. Who could resist? I put this plant in the north bed.

 

Depending on which website you are on, the flowers are a deep garnet red, deep red, bright red. I am calling them red but they really are neat.

 

I found this Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ at Muddy Creek. I had a Brunnera ‘King’s Ransom’ when I was in Mississippi that I bought off the discount rack at Lowe’s. It was pretty much shot and didn’t survive. They don’t like high heat and humidity and need consistently moist soil. ‘Jack Frost’ is supposed to tolerate drier conditions so we shall see what happens. It was introduced by Walter’s Gardens in 2000 and won the Perennial Plant of the Year in 2012. It is already in the shade bed.

 

Brunnera macrophylla have neat and happy small pale blue flowers.

 

I had a plan for the Crocosmia x Curtonus ‘Lucifer’ but somehow forgot to put them where I intended in the bed on the right side of the north porch. Well, I had to make a change and put the Heliotropium arborescens ‘Marine’ where I wanted the…

 

Cenchrus setaceus ‘Rubrum’ (Purple Fountain Grass). So, I had put this plant where I wanted the Crocosmia. Then, after I moved the Heliotrope something (like a cat or mole) dug in the bed and kind of screwed it up. Well, something is also weird with the soil… So, the Heliotrope may not make it and I can put the Fountain Grass in that spot after all. Then the Crocosmia can go where I wanted them in the first place or next to the porch instead of the steps.

Now, if you are wondering why I am calling the Purple Fountain Grass a Cenchrus setaceus instead of Pennisetum setaceum it is because the name changed in 2010.

 

Since the Blue Mistflower (Conoclinum coelestinum) didn’t come up from seed this spring, it left the areas next to the steps without anything. When we were at Muddy Creek Greenhouse I found these Gomphrena globosa ‘Gnome Series’. They had quite a few 4-packs with a mixture of white, purple and pink. I found a pack with two white and two purple to bring home. I put them in the bed on the left side of the steps. They will get plenty of morning sun.

 

Mast’s Greenhouse had a couple of Hostas I had to bring home. The one in the above photo is Hosta ‘Blue Angel’. They had several of these plants, but I bought this one because the Yellow Wood Sorrel (Oxalis stricta) in the pot has different colored leaves than the ones growing in my flower beds (and the yard). My dad’s mom had a purple-leaved Wood Sorrel in her flower bed which I got a start from when I was around eight. I have not seen any since (It is NOT the same as Oxalis triangularis). Then when we went to Muddy Creek and they had larger plants for around the same price.

Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ can grow to around 3′ tall x 5′ to 6′ wide in time.

 

I also brought this Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ from Mast’s Greenhouse. Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ is a legendary cultivar and may be the largest of the chartreuse/gold cultivars available. Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ can grow around 3′ tall x up to 6′ wide within a few years.

 

Even though there were several Hosta cultivars at Lowe’s I didn’t have, I resisted. I had originally picked out a Hosta ‘Wide Brim’, but then decided on this Hosta ‘Whirlwind’. It’s thick, dark variegated leaves won me over and I put the ‘Wide Brim’ back. I put this in the new shade bed I made in 2017.

 

I found this plant called Blue Star Creeper (Isotoma fluviatilis) I had never heard of before. The label says they like full sun, so I thought I would bring one home and give it a try. Ummm. Depending on what the roots look like, I will either plant the whole pot in one place or divide it into four and put them in different locations.

 

Then I found this AWESOME Kalanchoe orgyalis whos common name is Copper Spoons. Of course, this plant will stay on the plant tables next to the shed.

 

I really like Kalanchoe and I couldn’t resist this plant… The leaves have a felt-like texture.

 

I found these Bee Balm called Monarda Super BuzzCherry Pops‘ for the northeast corner bed by the back porch. I had bought a Monarda at one of the local garden clubs plant sales last spring but it didn’t survive. I decided I may put them on the right side of the steps on the north side of the house.

 

I also bought three more Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherokee Sunset’ from Wildwood for the south bed. I tried them there last summer, but the ‘Brocade’ Marigolds and Celosia spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ overwhelmed them (and me, too). I didn’t think any seed from these plants came up from last year, but I am not 100% sure now. When I was getting the bed ready a few days ago I noticed there are plants in the right side of the south bed that have similar leaves. They have no buds yet but they do have leaves like this plant and the species Rudbeckia hirta.

 

Lowe’s had A LOT of these Salvia farinacea Cathedral™ ‘Blue Bicolor’. I had Salvia farinacea ‘Blue Bedder’ in Mississippi I grew from seed. They always did very well and also reseeded. So, I will put these in the south bed.

 

Wildwood Greenhouse had several Salvia cultivars but I had to bring three Salvia pratensis ‘Midnight Model’ home with me. They will go in the south bed. I love Salvia and it is always good when I find a species I haven’t tried before.

 

I always liked the Pincushion Flower but hadn’t ever grown any. So, when Lowe’s had several Scabiosa columbaria ‘Blue Note’ (Dwarf Pincushion), I had to bring one home. I am not sure where I will put it yet…

 

Wildwood also had a few pots of Purple Heart (Tradescantia pallida) like I had in Mississippi. They are perennial there but I will have to keep it in a pot so I can bring it inside here. I will put it in the basement where it will go dormant over the winter like I do the Tradescantia sillamontana. We will just have to see. I will no doubt take a few cuttings and experiment a little and put one upstairs to how it does there. They do make good houseplants but they need the proper amount of light or they get weird.

 

I finally found a Sedum adolphii ‘Firestorm’ at Lowe’s. I already have a Sedum adolphii (which needs some work) I have had for a few years. Now I will see how this one does.

 

Last in alphabetical order is the always GREAT Sempervivum ‘Oddity’. I lost this plant a couple of years ago (and no, I don’t want to talk about it). I found another one at Wagler’s in 2016, but it didn’t do well. So, now that I have another one… HANDS OFF! 🙂

I think that is it for the new plants for now. Hopefully, all will do well and thrive just as I hope you are all doing well and thriving. I will finish working on the pages to these plants now. 🙂 Until next time, take care, stay well, positive, be safe and GET DIRTY!

 

Then on May 31…

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all doing well. The title sounds somewhat strange because I already did an update through June 3.  Not only that, it is June 11 already and I am making a post about what happened on May 31st! But, like I mentioned, I am somewhat behind and things have been off track the past week.

The back pasture is looking really good since the cows haven’t been back there to graze. I decided to let them back there on May 31 after I had the fence row taken care of. They hadn’t been back here (there) since the ordeal with the fencer. I was so glad I got that straightened out! It is such a strange and hard to explain feeling when the cows are not where they are supposed to be. Even stranger when you see a broken wire and the cows didn’t cross it and get in the backyard. Well, for the most part, our cows are very good and won’t try a fence just to see if it is hot. Kind of like me, I guess. I used to touch it to check it, now that only happens by accident which is MUCH worse.

 

This was the first day the calves had been to the back pasture. They were having a lot of fun exploring and it was fun to watch them.

 

Calf #1 born on May 1 decided to get in the pond with her mother. This is the first time I saw any of the calves in the pond.

I walked behind the pond to see what I could find…

 

There are a lot of wildflowers you don’t really notice when the cows have been grazing because they eat them. I was very fortunate to have found this White Avens (Geum canadense) flowering. I took quite a few more flowers but they were blurry. Then I went back the next day to take more and I couldn’t find any flowers. It is a really neat flower and I need to get some better photos so I can make a good page to the right.

 

How the flower stem grows out of the leaf is pretty cool! (Umm, I never said that before…) At this point, until I find out something bad about it, the whole plant is pretty, ummm, cool. 🙂

 

We have quite a few Red Mulberry trees (Morris rubra) and some of them are LOADED while others not so much. I always have to pick a few because they are quite tasty.

 

There are also quite a few White Mulberry Trees (Morris alba) on the farm. They are sweeter and kind of syrupy. Ang sarap!

 

One of the most interesting things I saw of the day were the fuzzy balls on the Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera). I have never seen them at this stage before. Isn’t nature just amazing?

 

Yeah, this is a Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos). Not everyone favorite tree, but I kind of think they are AWESOME! They make a great tree because their leaves provide filtered light instead of deep shade. Well, maybe that isn’t so good in certain circumstances depending on what is growing under it.

 

There are thornless cultivars available and they would definitely be much better for a shade tree in the yard. They have very small ferny leaves that don’t need to be raked in the fall. The Honey Locust can be a problem for many farmers because those thorns can go right through a tractor tire. Not to mention a boot sole. Forget about going barefooted. OUCH! Of course, there has to be a Japanese Honeysuckle in this photo.

 

I think this small clump is probably a Soft Rush (Juncus effusus). There are quite a few Juncus species to choose from. The cultivar ‘Big Twister’ comes to mind and I would have been amazed to see some curly stems along the pond. Well, as they say, this is a “variable” species.

 

Then, on the other side of the pond, there is this entire colony! I intended to go back and get more photos to make sure my ID was correct, but I haven’t made it yet.

 

I think this is a species of Carex but I need to go back and take more photos for a positive ID.

We also have Cattails but they aren’t that interesting right now…

 

Most of the Black Walnut trees (Juglans nigra) don’t have many walnuts this year but a couple has A LOT!

 

We have A LOT of Black Medick (Medicago lupulina) in the hayfield and back pasture. Not so much in the front pasture though. Maybe the cows like it. I thought it was some kind of small yellow clover until I took the photo and did some research. I will do a more thorough write up with I publish the page for it to the right.

 

Another plant that can get quite carried away is the Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia). It is way up on the top of a short list of plants I could easily live without.

 

The Virginia Creeper is also flowering now which are not near as showy as Poison Ivy. Some people also have a similar reaction to the sap of the Virginia Creeper as Poison Ivy. I haven’t noticed having a problem with although many times I am in both at the same time because they seem to like to grow together. The previous photo shows them both growing up in the same tree.

 

This fence row in front of the south hayfield also needs to be cleaned out. Dad and I worked it over in 2013 but it is overgrown again. I keep the vegetation off the wire but it doesn’t take long before it needs to be trimmed again. The wire here is still good so it won’t need to be replaced but I would really like to put barbed wire here. In my opinion, an electric fence should only be an inexpensive, temporary solution, not a permanent one.

There is always plenty of work to do on the farm in the spring and summer months.

 

There is part of the corral that is blocked off that is just the place for unwanted trees to grow. I have cleaned it out twice already now I need to do it again. The problem has always been that the stumps always send up new growth which happens much faster than you might think, too. I found a product I can use to kill the stumps, so the next time I clear this mess out I am going to get a bottle. It is a late afternoon/early evening project so the area will be in the shade.

Sorry, I don’t have links to the species listed on this post because I don’t have pages for them ready yet. It’s a work in progress deal. 🙂

That’s it for this post. May you stay positive, happy, healthy and embrace life. Don’t forget to GET DIRTY!

Canna Bed Extended

Dad’s red Cannas on July 3, 2013.

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all well. When I came back to the farm in 2013, dad had a small group of Cannas along the south side of the house. When fall came I supposed they would have to be dug up but dad said he just cut off the stems and lay them on top and they survive. Before, I remembered grandma always digging hers up and putting the tubers in the basement. I certainly had no issue with mulching them and leaving them in the ground, but I told dad that they should be mulched with leaves instead of their stems.

The thing I noticed most was dad’s Cannas had been in this spot for many years and had not spread that much. I explained to dad mulching with their stems was causing most of their tubers to either rot or not survive the winter.

 

Dad’s red Cannas on 6-12-14, #229-12.

So, in the fall of 2013, I mulched the Cannas with leaves. As you can tell, the colony is a little larger than in 2013.

 

Dad’s red Cannas on 6-27-15, #270-8.

Dad mentioned he would like the Cannas along the side of the garage and I thought that was a great idea. Funny, but I had also been thinking the same thing. So, in the spring of 2015, I dug a new bed and but the Cannas along the side of the garage. I know I planted them a little to close together but the bed was already twice the size as where they were. Of course, dad mentioned they were to close together. 🙂

One interesting thing was that the grasshoppers didn’t bother them here like on the south side of the house.

I didn’t take any photos of the Cannas in 2016.

 

Dad’s red Cannas on 6-24-17, #349-22.

The Cannas were looking very well when the above photo was taken on June 24, 2017. I told dad they drastically needed to be spaced out more and I would like to dig the bed the entire length of the garage.

 

Dad’s red Cannas on 10-2-17, #380-2.

Well, 2017 was definitely perfect for Cannas! I measured them and the tallest was around 12 feet tall. They seem to do their best in cramped conditions.

 

Dad’s red Cannas on 5-17-18, #443-23.

Now, this spring was strange and a lot of plants were slower to come up. I decided I would go ahead and start digging to extend the Canna bed. When I first started I noticed that they weren’t so thick. So many of the tubers didn’t even sprout but that hadn’t rotted either. In the above photo taken on May 14, I had dug the entire bed and put a few on each end. I had a plan but…

It was pretty hot during the day so I only worked on the bed after the area was in the shade after dinner until dark. The yard light helped some but I eventually had to stop. The neighbors may have realized how whacky I really was if I worked all night. I actually did that a few times in Mississippi, but that is a different story.

 

Dad’s red Cannas on 5-25-18, #448-4.

We had rain and I didn’t get to finish as soon as I wanted. As you can tell, they grew by the time I was able to get back into the bed. I had also been working on the fence around the hay field and mowing the yard and doing other things. I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to get finished.

BUT…

Dad’s red Canna bed on June 1, 2018, #451-1.

I was NOT happy with the way it was turning out. So, on May 29 I think, I started removing ALL the Cannas out of the bed.

 

A load of “THE GOOD STUFF” on 6-1-18, #451-2.

I had noticed a spot where I fed hay several years ago had no weeds growing on it (which was strange in itself), and a light came on in my head. After I had all the Cannas out of the bed, I went and got a couple of 5-gallon buckets of “THE GOOD STUFF’. Well, I could see that was going to be a slow process, so I hooked up the wagon and brought back a bigger load I mixed about half the load into the soil. The goal was to scatter the rest on top after I was finished.

 

Dad’s red Cannas along the north side of the garage on 6-1-18, #451-4.

Umm… I had put all the Cannas from the south side of the garage along the north side so they wouldn’t be in the sun during the day. I had no idea how long replanting them would take. They kept growing even though they weren’t even in the ground! It looked like so many now!

 

One wheelbarrow at a time…

Then, one wheelbarrow at a time I took them to the bed and spaced them out better. Digging the hold the appropriate depth for each clump. Some were very large!

 

The finished and extended Canna bed on 6-4-18, #453-6.

I finally finished the Canna bed on June 4 and I was very glad. The Cannas aren’t near as tall as they were this time last year, but at least the bed is finished. Looking back to the first photo in 2013 until now, I guess mulching with leaves did the trick. Even dad said they had done so well because of the leaves. I still have a wheelbarrow full of bulbs that didn’t come up. I have no clue what I am going to do with them…

Until next time, be well, stay positive, embrace life the best you can and GET DIRTY!

 

Fence Row Finished, A New friend, Cornus drummondi, etc.

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all doing very well. I finished with the fence row along the back of the hayfield on May 25. The Multiflora Roses and blackberries were getting a little carried away and I had to do something about them. Multiflora Roses do provide some hiding places for rabbits and quail, but I haven’t seen any rabbits in this area and we have no more quail. There are still several Multiflora Roses, one half the size of the house, that will do the job. Enough is enough anyway.

This fence runs north and south and connects to the fence that runs east and west up the lane and to the fence in the next photo. That may make no sense to you, so you will just have to trust me.

 

This is another part that runs east and west that connects to the part that runs north and south. This one connects to the back boundary of the farm. There were a lot of blackberries in this fence while the other one had mostly Multiflora roses.

I put new wire along the lane and around the back part and may have enough left for the front part of the hayfield, too. If not, I will have to get another roll.

 

When I went to work on the fence in the afternoon I forgot to take the camera. I didn’t remember until I saw this friendly Three-Toed Box Turtle.

 

It was sitting close to where the corner post was and I wanted to get a photo because I had not seen one with the white color. Since I had no camera with me, I put it in the back of the pickup so I could take a photo later. One time I saw one that was mostly orange.

 

After a few photos, I put the turtle by the chicken house so it could get back to looking for food. I think turtles are amazing creatures.

I have gotten into the habit of taking my camera with me most of the time because you never know what you will see.

After getting the new wire around the hayfield, I started trimming around the fence on the south end of the back pasture. Since I didn’t have the camera, I went back in the afternoon of the 27th because there were some photos I needed to take.

 

I have wanted to identify this vine for several years and noticed it was flowering when I was working on the fence row. After a few photos and looking on the internet I was STILL confused. At first, I thought it was a species of Hydrangea but the leaves didn’t match. So, I posted a few photos on the Facebook group called Missouri Native Plant Society.

 

A few other members quickly commented with the correct ID. As it turns out, it is a Rough-Leaved Dogwood (Cornus drummondi) and it not a vine after all. Later on, I saw one in the area next to the chicken house while I was mowing. GEEZ! It was there all this time and never realized it was the same as the one in the back of the farm. Once they finish flowering, they just become part of the rest of the brush.

 

The beautiful and amazing Toxicodendron radicans is also flowering now. I am just kidding about the beautiful and amazing part. There is nothing amazing about Poison Ivy and there is plenty here is anyone needs a start. I will give you a shovel and you can take your pick and have all you want. It is very healthy.

 

You can also have all you want of the Lonicera japonica, which is the Japanese Honeysuckle. Seriously, though, the flowers and the fact that hummingbirds love it are just a disguise to this plant’s invasive agenda.

OK, I am publishing this post and moving on to the next one…

Until then, stay positive, be thankful, stay blessed and GET DIRTY!

May 25 Through June 3 Update

Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’ in a new pot on 5-25-18, #448-8.

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all doing well. I haven’t made a post since May 24 even though I have taken A LOT of photos. I finally finished the fence in the back of the hayfield then started on the Canna bed extension. I have repotted several of the cactus and succulents and had a weird surprise. Some of the plants have been photographed more than once over the past couple of weeks because they get outdated by the time I get around to making a post. This post will cover photos from May 25 through June 10… Each plant mentioned is linked to its own page, but the page may not be updated yet. I made a few changes along the way, so some of the earlier published pages are not updated with links… Plus, I still have to add some photos I took afterward. I will get caught up some day. 🙂

The Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’ in the top photo is now in its new pot. The sides were beginning to bulge so I thought it was time. When I bought this plant from Wal-Mart on February 1, 2016, the label said it was an Echinobivia ‘Rainbow Bursts’ and it was an intergenetic hybrid between Echinopsis and Lobivia. Well, the species in the Lobivia genus were moved to the Echinopsis genus, so I guess that means it isn’t an intergenetic hybrid after all. Yeah, I know. You are only supposed to increase the pot size by 1/2-1″ diameter larger but I thought the babies may eventually fall off and need room, too.

 

Cylindropuntia imbricata on 5-25-18, #448-7.

The Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla) is doing very well and going through a growth spurt. There for a while, when it was very cold, I had begun to wonder if it survived the winter. But, as you can see, all is well. This cactus is very interesting to watch in the spring and early summer. It is cold hardy in USDA zones 4a-11 (down to -30) so it was OK here in zone 6a even though it completely changed color like it was dead.

 

Geranium sanguineum on 5-25-18.

The Geranium sanguineum (Bloody Cranesbill) is now flowering up a storm. I need to take some measurements of the flowers this summer to see if it is a Geranium sanguineum var. striatum.

 

Mammillaria elongata in a new pot on 5-25-18, # 448-11.

I had to put the Mammillaria elongata in a new pot because it looked like it was giving me the finger all the time. But, even after it was comfortably in the larger pot it STILL continues to make the same gesture. Well, I guess I deserve that because I did knock it off the table while it was in my bedroom and most of the offsets broke off. That happened only a few days after I brought it home so I guess we got off to a bad start. On the brighter side, the offsets all have roots. I had debated whether or not to put the offsets that fell off in their own pots but decided I didn’t need that many more pots of the same species so we shall see what happens next.

 

Sedum spathulifolium ‘Cape Blanco’ on 5-25-18, #448-17.

The new Sedum spathulifolium ‘Cape Blanco’ isn’t doing so well. It started rotting soon after I put it in a pot so when I took the plants outside I put many of the rosettes other pots to see if they would take root. I took a more recent photo but this one looks the best. Surely, a few will take root!

 

I let the chickens out on May 27th after the family reunion which was the first time since last year. I would let them out more but there is no fence to keep them safe. Never know when a fox or the neighbor’s dog will pay a visit.

 

The White Chantecler rooster is proud to be the new sheriff since the Delaware was de-throned. I am not exactly sure how that happened because the Chantecler is not a fighter unless it is with the bantam rooster.

 

This is a photo of two of the White Chantecler hens. There are three of them but one did not get in this photo. She is the weird one who tries to eat water instead of drinking it. They are very calm dispositioned although one is beginning to growl.

 

Once the bigger chickens went around to the side of the chicken house…

 

I let out the Old English Game Bantams. I can’t let them out together because they DO NOT like each other. Not only do the roosters not like each other, but the hens really get into it. They soon went to their favorite spot under the lilac bush by the shade bed and behind the shed.

 

Some of the big girls started sunbathing. Then after a while, they ventured to the backyard where the shade bed is. Now, the bigger chickens aren’t like the bantams and pay absolutely no attention to where they are going. They never have a plan and are not concerned with making one. I have to watch them or they start digging where they aren’t supposed to. The bantams never disturb any of the plants even when they fly on the plant tables and walk on the edges of the pots. They seem much more intelligent and are VERY alert. When the bigger hens moved to where the bantams were, the bantams went to snoop in the chicken house. They seem to try to avoid a fight but sometimes they just can’t control themselves. 🙂 None of the hens actually start the fight, it is just automatic. The roosters are a different story. It’s all about protecting their hens, their territory, and their dignity.

 

Alocasia ‘Calidora’, Portora’, and ‘Mayan Mask’ in the ground on 5-31-18, #450-1.

On May 27 I decided to move an Alocasia ‘Calidora’ (right), Alocasia ‘Portora’ (center), and Alocasia ‘Mayan Mask’ (left) to the corner bed along the old foundation. I have smaller and larger plants, but I chose three average size plants for this experiment. Normally I put most of the smaller Colocasia esculenta in this spot but they don’t seem to get anywhere here because there isn’t enough sun. With no pot to slow the Alocasia down, they may get bigger here. We shall see.

I still haven’t decided where to put the rest of the Colocasia esculenta. I am considering digging a bed on the east side of the house.

 

Agastache ‘Kudos™ Gold’ on 6-3-18, #452-1.

The Agastache ‘Kudos™ Gold’(Dwarf Hummingbird Mint) is doing very well in the north bed but the color just doesn’t seem right for a Hyssop.

 

Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum (Elephant Garlic) on 6-3-18, #452-2.

The Elephant Garlic (Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum) is looking really good. They are an Allium so why not keep them in a flower bed? Plus they are great in sphagetti sauce! I think it is weird how some variety names are the same as the species.

 

Baptisia ‘Lunar Eclipse’ on 6-3-18, #452-3.

Well, I certainly goofed here! I planted the Baptisia ‘Lunar Eclipse’ in the southwest corner bed next to the Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ last spring. They got along perfectly well until this spring. The Baptisia decided it would take over the entire corner. The Baptisia did flower but I may not have put in a post…

 

Just in case I didn’t post the flowers, here it is. There were only a few clusters and they didn’t flower for very long. The above photo was taken on May 11.

 

Now it has giant peas!

 

Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ on 6-3-18, #452-15.

Now the poor Phlomis ‘Edward Bowls’ is not the center of attention in the corner bed now. It needs more light and it didn’t flower! GEEZ! I think I may have to give the Baptisia a good shearing.

 

Leucocasia/Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ on 6-3-18, #452-9.

The Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ is now poking through. 🙂 The post on May 23rd is about the Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’. Oh, crap! I forgot the name changed to Leucocasia gigantea.

 

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ on 6-3-18, #452-11.

The Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ I bought last spring is now moved out of the corner and already has a bud. The first Hosta bud of the season. Normally Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ is the first.

The bigger clump of Achillea millefolium is now at the corner of the barn but isn’t ready for a photo as it is still acclimating to its new site. It does seem to approve, though. The other clump of Achillea (now behind the H. ‘Empress Wu’) is much bigger now and may make its way to the south bed. It won’t like the shade anyway. There are also several new sprouts that have ventured out into the sun… Like I said, if the Achillea doesn’t like where it is, it will move all by itself. The Achillea in front of the chicken house is trying to move around the corner as well. GEEZ!

 

The leaves of the Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ will get very large but it will take several years for the clump to reach its mature size. It is the worlds largest Hosta cultivar. I can hardly wait to see how big the Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ will get this year. They are neighbors in the north bed.

Even with all the excitement spring brings, probably the best news this spring is…

 

Sedum spurium ? on 6-3-18, #452-23.

I brought this Sedum spurium ? home from the greenhouse in 2015 with no label. It has many of the characteristics of Sedum spurium ‘Dragon’s Blood’ but I hoped for flowers to make a closer positive ID. After all this time…

 

It has a few buds! 🙂 Now maybe I can say for sure it is ‘Dragons Blood’ or not.

 

Sedum kamtschaticum ‘Variegatum’ on 6-3-18, #452-27.

Plus the Sedum kamtschaticum ‘Variegatum’ is going to flower for the first time since 2012 when we were, I mean I was, in Mississippi. I almost lost this plant and we really struggled for several years. I mean we struggled with just one stem a few times but it still hung on. Then I moved it to the cast iron planter with the Sempervivum ‘Killer’ last year and it did a little better. This spring it came up with a new lease on life. I was shocked!

 

Another weird thing is one of its stems is a different color. Maybe it has given me a new variety. 🙂

 

Sedum kamtschaticum on 6-3-18, #452-25.

The non-variegated Sedum kamtschaticum is doing AWESOME as always. I have to measure this plants leaves and size this summer because it may be a Sedum kamtschaticum subsp. ellacombeanum which is larger than the species. Unless… OK, I am not getting into the “unless” on this post because it is already on this plants page.

 

Sedum spurium ‘John Creech’ on 6-3-18, #452-29.

The Sedum spurium ‘John Creech’ is doing very good tucked in this spot between the cast iron planter and the foundation. I can see it is trying to escape…

 

It also has a few buds! Sorry I didn’t get a clear photo even though I took quite a few to choose from. You just never know…

I am going to close this post because I have three or four more right in line. Two have been a work in progress. Well, this is going to be a very different and exhausting end of the week.

So for now, be safe, stay positive, never give up on anything worthwhile and important. As always, GET DIRTY!

Amorphophallus, Caladium, Colocasia, & Zantedeschia Bulbs. It’s A Family Thing.

Amorphophallus sp. on 7-1-17, #353-1 after I brought it home.

Hello again, folks! I hope this finds you all doing well and that you have been getting your hands in the dirt. It’s the time of year we can enjoy being out with nature before the mosquitos get too bad. I have seen a few already so I try to be quiet so they don’t hear me.

I mentioned in the last post I had taken a few photos of the bulbs so I thought I would ramble about them for a bit. All these plants are in the Araceae family of aroids. All I can say about this family is that I need more.

I found this Amorphophallus (a-mor-fo-FAL-us) in the above photo to bring home at Wagler’s Greenhouse last summer. She had several pots but I took this one home because it also had an Oxalis triangularis subsp. papilionaceae growing with it. 🙂  According to the Wikipedia, the common name of the genus is Zaminkand but some of the species are referred to as Voodoo Lilies or other strange names. Of course, as with most of Wagler’s “pass-along plants”, there was no label and she had no clue what species it was (Well, heck, she doesn’t even know the genus like most normal folks). Plants of the World Online list 220 accepted species of Amorphophallus but luckily only a few are popular in cultivation so MAYBE I can soon figure out the species if it flowers. Despite the name being hard to spell or type really fast, it is a very interesting plant like most aroids.

The Amoororphooophaalluuus and Oxalis both went dormant when cool temperatures started getting close even before I moved the potted plants inside. The pot had been in the basement during the winter and I moved them outside on April 29 to play the waiting game.

When I went to the greenhouse a few weeks ago with my sister and niece, I asked Mrs. Wagler if she was going to have more Voodoo Lilies later. She didn’t know what I was talking about. I tried to explain the plant by reminding her of the story she told e about her mother growing them when she was a kid. Still, it didn’t ring a bell. I should have asked what she called the plant last year instead of just asking what species of Amorphophallus it was. I always get a blank stare… Sometimes a grin, though.

 

The Oxalis started coming up soon after I moved the pots outside but there was no sign of the “others”. I am done writing that name for this post… So, after being patient long enough, I ran my fingers through the potting soil to see what I could find. Low and behold I found a bulb and it was sprouting. I thanked the universe and the creator. Yeah, I know, most people would say thank God. OK, thank you, God. Feel better now?

 

I dug around a little more and found the other one. What I found strange last year was this stem in the middle of the pot with no plant. It remained there all winter with no change. It didn’t rot, either. You can see it here in the photo. It looked like it was starting to green up, though.

 

So, out of curiosity, I pulled it out to have a look. Well, GEE WHIZ! It had no roots! Once I pulled the stem out I could tell the bulb that needed to be in the soil was on top. Many aroids do this. They grow a new bulb on top of the old one, including the Colocasia esculenta. So, I pushed the whole thing into the soil down to where the top was covered up. Hmmm. I wonder how old that stem is?

 

I had also bought a few Caladiums last year. I thought I would attempt to overwinter their bulbs, too, but they didn’t fare so well. They were kind of moldy but I put them in pots anyway. We shall see what happens. I have heard that overwintering Caladium bulbs is tricky. If you do successfully overwinter them, trying to figure which side is up is also confusing. Supposedly, the smooth side goes down and the knobby side goes up. They will grow either way, but apparently, they will peep through the soil faster if they are planted the right way and the plants will do better.

 

Now, for the Colocasia esculenta. The two larger bulbs (tubers) on the right were the plants growing on the north side of the house for the past two years. There were three but one rotted instead of coming up last spring. The other two next to the bucket and the bulbs in the bucket were growing on each side of the… Well, what used to be the foyer of my grandparent’s house. The smaller bulbs in the clay pot were a few of what I didn’t plant last year. They stayed perfectly fine all summer and during the winter. They sprouted a little last summer but they didn’t grow past that.

 

I didn’t count them once I cleaned them off, but there are plenty. I took the smaller bulbs ad the ones in the clay pot and planted them along the north side of the chicken house. I will plant the largest bulb along with the Colocasia gigantea, I mean Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ in the north bed. I need to move the Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ farther out of the corner in the north bed so I will only have room for two bulbs. I can’t put the other big bulb farther down the bed because of the Geranium sanguineum (Bloody Cranesbill). So, maybe, I will put the other big bulb around the corner on the east side of the house. MMMAAAYYYBBBEEE I will put the rest along the east side, too, since I really need to do something there. They don’t grow that well in front of the old foundation because they don’t get enough sun. Maybe I will sneak a few in dad’s Canna bed, too. 🙂

Oh yeah… You can see, especially with the two larger bulbs (tubers) the old bulb on the bottom with the newer bulb on top. The “stem” is right on top of the bulb and actually seems to be part of the bulb. The petioles grow from the stem and as the petioles and leaves die, the new tuber is formed (above ground). You can actually separate the two and plant them both. I should have taken a photo to explain it better… If you look at the old bulbs, you can see rhizomes coming out. Those will also make new plants and the old bulb will rot. The little “bumps” on the bulbs will grow into rhizomes if you have them in good light where they will grow well. In to much shade, that doesn’t seem to happen as much. They can be quite productive!

 

Now, for the Zantedeschia aethiopica (Calla Lily). This cluster did really well over the winter and started sprouting without even any soil. I put them in this pot the same day I moved the plants outside.

 

I decided I better put them in a larger pot and saw all these nice roots. I had planted them in the shade bed last year but read where they do better in more sun. I saw a HUGE plant growing by a sign in Clinton right out in full sun and it was looking really AWESOME! Well, you never know. Maybe they just planted the pot before I saw it because I hadn’t seen them there before. So, just to be on the safe side…

 

I put the Calla in this pot so I can move it if I need to. I think I will put this pot on the north porch once they start growing well. I don’t have a page for the Zantedeschia elliottiana (Golden Calla Lily) yet. Still working on the ‘T’s (Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus).

I am finished now. So, what have you been planting?

Until next time, stay well, be positive, hug your mate, enjoy nature and GET DIRTY!

New ‘Thailand Giant’ Bulb

Hell0 again! I hope this post finds you all well. The new Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ (I mean Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’) I bought from an Ebay seller arrived on Tuesday. It was wrapped in a newspaper printed in Chinese. I looked the newspaper over and found out it was The Epoch Times.

I know this is supposed to be a post about the new bulb but I had to further investigate this newspaper. 🙂 The Epoch Times was founded in 2000 in New York City by a group of Chinese-American Falun Gong practitioners. The newspaper is either sold or distributed free of charge in 35 countries in 21 languages. The founders say they were responding to censorship inside China and a lack of international understanding about the Chinese repression of Falun Gong. The newspaper can be read online and receives 105 million page views per month from 20 million visitors. Anyway, the Wikipedia article and the newspaper’s website are quite interesting.

 

I unwrapped the newspaper to find a box…

 

I opened the box to find an envelope…

 

I opened the envelope to find a, umm, sweet potato? Well, it sure looks like the white sweet potatoes I grew in 2016.

 

Well, I am pretty confident it is a Colocasia, I mean Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’. It looks nothing like what I expected, though. I expected it to look like a bulb similar to the Colocasia esculents judging from the bulb that grew from the ‘Thailand Giant’ I grew last year. It looks similar to the rhizomes that grow from my Colocasia esculenta only MUCH, MUCH larger.

 

PREVIOUSLY…

Previously, I had bought a Colocasia gigantea from Wellspring Gardens as a starter plant in 2009. Then, in 2012, I bought a ‘Thailand Giant’ from him. The first one died after a week or so and he promptly replaced it free of charge. I didn’t complain, I just told him it died and I was going to buy another one. The above photo was taken on April 15, 2012.

 

I put them both in a larger pot after they arrived. He said they don’t like a lot of water when they are small. Who would have thought that from a Colocasia? I followed his advice and the second did fine. This photo was taken on June 11, 2012.

 

After it grew a little larger I planted in the ground. I took this photo of the ‘Thailand Giant’ in the backyard of the mansion on September 24, 2012. It didn’t grow that large, though. Not near as big as any of the Colocasia esculenta.

THEN…

This is the plant I bought from Wildwood Greenhouse on May 20, 2017. It was MUCH larger than the starter plants I had bought from Wellspring.

 

The above photo was taken on September 23 with 4 flowers. It went on to produce 6 flowers from one petiole… No wonder this plants name was changed back to Leucocasia gigantea. The flowers are typical aroid but none of my Colocasia esculenta or any of my Alocasia produce flowers in a cluster like that. Well, my Alocasia lauterbachiana did do something weird, too.

 

It grew to almost 6 feet tall by the time we had our first frost. Its biggest leaf grew to nearly 48″ long x almost 36″ wide. I have seen many photos online of the ‘Thailand Giant’ growing to at least 10 feet tall. It isn’t uncommon for its leaves to grow 4 to 6 feet long x 3 to 5 feet wide.

 

By the time we had our first frost, it had produced 6 flowers from one petiole and three from another.

 

When I dug the bulb, it measured around 5″ in diameter.

The seller’s listing said he gets his bulbs from a “supplier” and they are from the Wellspring Gardens strain… Well, I suppose that means his supplier’s original plants came from Wellspring Gardens. There are many websites online that sell “Colocasia gigantea” ‘Thailand Giant’ but they are plants. I have not seen any bulbs of this plant except from the listings from the seller I bought mine from on Ebay… Click HERE for a link to his listing. Yeah, I know. Technically they aren’t called bulbs.

I took photos of the Colocasia esculenta and Amorphophallus bulbs today. I put the Caladium bulbs in a pot and repotted the Calla. I also planted the smaller Colocasia esculenta bulbs along the north side of the chicken house. I worked a while on the Canna bed and hope to work on it more today. I would say tomorrow, but right now it is almost 2 AM on Wednesday so it is already tomorrow. 🙂 Maybe I can also plant the rest of the Colocasia and the ‘Thailand Giant’. It is going to take a getting used to calling it Leucocasia gigantea.

So, until next time, stay well, be positive, and as always GET DIRTY!

SUPRISE! SUPRISE! Names Change When We Aren’t Looking!

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all well! I wanted to share a couple interesting name changes with you. One I completely was shocked about but the other not so much. I have rewritten this post many times because I kept rambling on and on. I will try and make this short and to the point.

While I was making the last post, I attached links to the plant names I mentioned to their pages in the right column of the blog. I knew I needed to update most of the pages I had published from January through October 2017 because most of them still mentioned The Plant List as a reference. After that, I started using Plants of the World Online by Kew because The Plant List hadn’t been maintained since 2013.

I had also started adding links for further information at the bottom of the pages and attaching a link to the author’s names to their Wikipedia page. Some of the botanists who named and described plants have a very interesting history. Well, at least I found it interesting.

ANYWAY, as I was attaching the link to the plant’s pages, I realized I had to go back and make sure their pages were updated. Now, when I wrote originally their pages, I made sure their scientific names were correct and updated. In late October last year, when I found out about the new Plants of the World Online, I went back and made sure all the names were correct, MANY had changed just since January. GEEZ! I am starting to ramble AGAIN.

At the bottom of every page I have been attaching a link to Plants of the World Online about the genus and species… Most of the plant names on the last post were the same except for two…

First, when I went to add the link to the Coleus ‘Spiced Curry’. I went to Plants of the World Online, typed in Plectranthus scutellarioides (which was the last accepted scientific name for the Coleus), and POWO said that name was NOW a synonym of Coleus scutellarioides. I thought Plants of the World had lost their mind! That was the name applied to the species in 1830! OK, the Coleus we all know and love has had MANY scientific names. Carl Linnaeus described the species as Ocimum scutellarioides in the second edition of Species Plantarum in 1763. Since then, the name has changed several times using the original name as a basionym. Not to mention all the other names given to the species by other botanists that were later found out to be synonyms. POWO currently lists 57 synonyms and the 2013 version of The Plant List named 66. You could read all about the names on my Coleus scutellarioides page, but it isn’t updated yet. 🙂 The first scientific name I was familiar with for the Coleus was Solenostemon scutellarioides. Then, after I started using The Plant List, I found out the name had changed back to Plectranthus scutellarioides. Even the family name had changed.

When a species has had MANY names, it is no shock when it changes again. Botanists continue to be in disagreement and any plant databases author’s can choose whatever name they choose. That sounds strange, but it is true. I can even choose to use the name applied by Carl von Linnaeus in 1763 since it was the original name for my blog if I choose.

The shock really came when I went to update the Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ page. I went to Plants of the World Online, attached the Link for the genus Colocasia but when I went to find the species name, it was not on the list. Now, that really confused me. How could Colocasia gigantea not be on the list? It was there before! Maybe I hadn’t checked before since the page was originally written earlier, before October 2017, and every other database and information online said Colocasia gigantea was the accepted name.

SO, I went back to the POWO home page and typed in Colocasia gigantea. LOW AND BEHOLD it said that name was a synonym of Leucocasia gigantea. I thought they had really lost their mind then! Apparently, a genetic test had been done, and they found out this species was more closely related to Alocasia than Colocasia. Since there were other “unique” characteristics, they returned it back to Leucocasia gigantea like it had been named in 1857. This species was first named Caladium giganteum in 1823. Now it is in a genus all by itself.

At least the, ummm, Leucocasia gigantea change has testing to back up the change. I have no idea why the Coleus name changed AGAIN and I have found no evidence of any testing. I sent an email to Rafael Goverts, the top the editor of Plants of the World Online and many other Kew resources, to quiz him a little. He accepted the name Plectranthus scutellarioides on the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families but it clearly says he did not accept the name Coleus scutellarioides in 1999 and 2003. Even the current biography on the Coleus scutellarioides page on POWO says he didn’t approve. So, how is it that they say it is now the accepted name? 

Well, Mr. Goverts is currently at the Chelsea Flower Show so I won’t hear back from him until he gets back. 

I will go ahead and update the Colocasia gigantea page because of the testing but I will wait for his reply before changing the Coleus pages AGAIN.

SOOOOO, until next time. Stay well, be positive, etc. and GET DIRTY!

The Tour Part 1: The North Bed 2013-May 19, 2018

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. I thought I better get this post finished. Truthfully, I have started this post many times and even changed the name.

I didn’t know where to go with it. Currently, there isn’t much to show and I have barely gotten started. I have been busy with this and that and the fences. I decided to share a few photos of the yard and beds from the beginning when I moved back to the farm in 2013. Kind of the highlights.

One thing I need you to keep in mind is that I get behind weeding. I don’t have a well-manicured yard or well-kept beds. Mississippi was a different story. I had plenty of time there and the mansion was on one of the main streets in the historic district. It wasn’t perfect and was always a work in progress. I think that is the same with everyone, though. Our yards, beds, and gardens are always a work in progress.

The above photo was taken on May 6 (2018) of our house and yard. It was just beginning to green up well.

 

When I moved back here, I think on February 22 in 2013, there was already plenty of snow. A good friend helped me move from Mississippi and it was in the 30’s the entire 8-9 hour trip. We ran into snow about 2 hours away near Springfield. It was around 8 PM when we arrived at my parent’s home. It was dark and snowing a little still. Thomas and I unloaded the plants I brought with me and took them to the basement. Some that would be OK were left in the garage (because they were dormant). Everything else I brought was unloaded in the garage so Thomas could be on his way.

 

The above two photos were taken on March 2 in 2013. Dad was 82 at the time and mom was going to turn 81 on April 20. I was glad to be back on the farm and truthfully I have no idea where I would have went if he hadn’t asked me to move back. I had just sold the mansion and I had A LOT of plants. When dad asked me to move back, I told him I had a lot of plants. He said, “Yeah.” I know he had no idea and he couldn’t hardly hear what I was saying on the phone.

After I arrived he told me I could do whatever I wanted. GEEZ! He was the third person that told me that. None of them had any clue what they had said.

 

THE BED ON THE NORTH SIDE OF THE HOUSE…

Naturally, as the temperatures started warming up my wheels began turning. I brought my old spade with me from Mississippi, plus dad had a shovel, and my hands were anxious to get around the handle and my fingers were itching to get into the dirt. The last time my hands were in the dirt in this location was when I had a garden here in the early 1980’s. Dad’s house is where one of grandpa’s gardens had been that I took over after he passed away. Yeah, things were really different than before and I had a new challenge.

This area receives morning and late afternoon sun. It is a perfect spot for plants that like a good amount of light but need protection from midday sun.

 

Conoclinium coelestinum ‘Aunt Inez’ on September 6, 2014.

Right off the bat, dad told me I couldn’t dig in the area on either side of the steps. He said he had flowers there that were from Aunt Inez. Aunt Inez was his mother’s sister. Sure enough, they started coming up from seed they had self-sown. By the time they had started growing good and started budding, I realized they were Hardy Ageratum, Blue Mistflower (or whatever you want to call them). They have continued coming up every year although I have only seen one so far this year. They grew very tall in 2017 and flopped over so most of their seeds may be in the grass. I made a mistake and didn’t cut their stems off and lay them in the bed last fall. That is the only thing I did differently and that won’t happen again. This may be a mistake that will be hard to correct with just one plant coming up.

 

Geranium sanguineum (Bloody Cranesbill) on the right side of the north bed on June 11, 2013.

I was very glad to see that dad had moved the Geranium sanguineum (Bloody Cranesbill) from the bed behind the old foundation to this bed. I bought their descendants from Bluestone Perennials after I moved to the farm in 1981.

These plants make a great groundcover but you do have to keep an eye out for crown rot especially when they get really thick. I think I am going to move a few to where they will get more sun to see how they do. This soil stays damp longer on the north side of the house and doesn’t drain well in the winter.

 

The flower bed on the north side of the house on June 12, 2014.

Hmmm… 2014. Oh yeah. This is the spring I moved one of the clumps of Achillea millefolium (Fern Leaf Yarrow) I brought from Mississippi to the north bed. I added the Astilbe with no label, Lysimachia nummularia ‘Goldilocks’, Agastache ‘Black Adder’, a few Coleus, and other miscellaneous plants I can’t remember right off the top of my head. Oh, yeah! I put a Lavandula angustifolia ‘Platinum Blond’ between the Coleus. I had bought the Coleus from Harrison Greenhouse and they were unlabeled. They grew MUCH larger than I expected and the next thing I knew the Lavandula had disappeared. Well, I had gotten busy on the farm and with other things and completely missed it was in trouble.

The Achillea doesn’t like it here and keeps moving farther away from the house every year. All by itself. I promised it I would move it where it will get more sun, probably back to the south side. I am also eyeballing a spot by the barn for the Achillea or maybe some Celosia spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon.’

 

Bed on the north side of the house on October 3, 2015.

In 2015 I had found a Salvia elegans (Pineapple Sage) from Wagler’s Greenhouse and it was the highlight of the north bed. I had also moved the Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ to this bed which spread so well I started moving it to other beds as well. I am going to put a few back in the south bed this year. I always plant a few Coleus in this bed and they always do very well.

 

Salvia elegans (Pineapple Sage) on October 18, 2015.

The Pineapple Sage has awesome red flowers and a nice scent. It is also a hummingbird magnet.

 

Celosia spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ by the porch on the north side of the house on October 3, 2015.

I also transplanted a Celosia spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ that didn’t have variegated leaves on the left side of the porch. They always look great in mass plantings, but as a specimen they are AWESOME!

 

Conoclinium coelestinum ‘Aunt Inez’ and Celosia spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ next to the steps on the north side. This photo was taken on September 3, 2016.

In 2016 I put a few more Celosia spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon on the north side. There are always a few that come up without variegated leaves that I separate from the others so I put them here.

 

Colocasia esculenta in the north bed on October 27, 2016.

2016 was the first year I planted the Colocasia esculenta in the north bed. I had been planting the bigger bulbs in front of the chicken house but they seemed to be getting smaller there. Smaller is NOT a good thing when it comes to Elephant Ears. They did AWESOME in the north bed.

Of course, as always, a few more Coleus. I really like the cultivar called ‘Dipt In Wine’. The red flowers are Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage).

 

Bed on the north side of the house on July 30, 2017.

I found a Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ at Wildwood Greenhouse in 2017 which I planted next to the porch. I also FINALLY found a Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ I put in the corner behind the ‘Thailand Giant’. I had wanted a Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ for this spot for a long time but they were generally pretty expensive online. I found one at the Green Street Market (a great garden center) in Clinton but I didn’t want to pay $20.00. Luckily, I found a smaller pot at the Muddy Creek Nursery locally for half the price.

 

Colocasia esculenta and Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ (on the left) at 67″ tall on October 8, 2017.

The two Colocasia esculenta on the right were already bigger than the ‘Thailand Giant’ when I brought it home. Once it caught up with the other two, they were neck in neck the rest of the season. The Coleus ‘Spiced Curry’ was also a beautiful plant. I had also put a Lavandula dentata (French Lavender) next to the corner post of the porch.

I stored the Colocasia in the basement for the winter and they were all doing fine until recently. I noticed the ‘Thailand Giant’ rotted. I found a listing on Ebay so I ordered a bulb. It should be here this week and I will plant it in this same spot along with the two larger Colocasia esculenta. I may move them farther to the right so they will be in the center of the bed. The seller said he sent me one that weighed a pound so it may get REALLY HUGE! 🙂

 

The left side of the porch on May 18, 2018.

Well, it certainly doesn’t look like much now. As I mentioned above, the Conoclinium coelestinum ‘Aunt Inez’ is not looking good. I amend the soil on both sides of the steps every year because it gets hard as a brick. One year I completely dug up the soil and removed it and added new and it goes right back to the way it was. It’s like the new soil disappears and now there is a sunk in spot. Hopefully, more will come up besides just one. I have watered the area because it was so dry and thought maybe the additional water would soften the soil somewhat.

 

The right side of the porch on the north side of the house on May 18, 2018.

The Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ is looking really good but I think it needs to be moved farther away from the corner. I am going to move the Achillea where it will get more sun, too. The Lysimachia nummularia ‘Goldilocks’ (Creeping Jenny) continues to travel. I have already added an Agastache ‘Kudos Gold’ next to the corner post.

 

The right side of the north bed on May 18, 2018.

The entire north bed needs to be more elevated to allow for better drainage but that chore will be for another time perhaps. I just have to learn to stop planting perennials that need good winter drainage to survive.

When I started this post it was going to be about all the beds around the house. Well, it became too long so I thought I better finish it in part 2. I hope you enjoyed this little journey in time. It’s all a work in progress. We learn as we grow what works well in certain areas and what doesn’t. I have realized that when labels and information say full sun to part shade the plants will do their best somewhere in between, especially during the heat of the summer. The north bed is that somewhere in between.

It may sound strange, and I do consider this my home, but something is definitely missing. I know what it is… I think I long for a tropical climate without winter.

Until next time, stay well, be positive, get out and enjoy nature, and GET DIRTY!

#7! It’s A Heifer!

Hello folks! When I got up this morning I saw a calf sleeping on the wrong side of the fence. It had been sprinkling for quite a while and was still at it. I am not really fond of cold water, so I didn’t go out to get the calf back where it belonged. I couldn’t tell which calf it was at first because it was always sleeping. Then, one time, its head was up but I could only see half. It looked like #6.

Dad came in and sat down in the dining room and said we had a new calf. I didn’t argue with him because maybe he was right. It is always amazing to me how dad knows what is going on with the cows when he can only see very little of the pasture in three small areas. He doesn’t get off the porch unless we go to town.

Finally, it stopped sprinkling and I went out to see if I could get the calf back where it belonged. I didn’t understand why #6 would have been across the fence AGAIN since she already tangled with it pretty good. Normally when they get a good zap they don’t bother it again.

I knew I had to be cautious and not get in a hurry because if you scare a sleeping a calf, they take off running and have no idea where they are going. The calf was laying down so I had to make a little noise so it would wake up and get up without being startled.

It got up and started walking toward the corner of the fence slowly so I moved in behind it. We got around the corner and it turned around and faced me and I was able to pet it. Finally, I saw its face. I said, “Wait a minute, are you #6 or what?’ Momma was on the other side of the fence and she said, “Have you lost your mind? Do I look like Fatty?”

Maybe you are wondering who Fatty is now. Late last summer I was looking at the cows and there was one that was looking HUGE. She had gotten so large, even her face didn’t look like one of our cows. For a while, I thought maybe one of the neighbor’s cows got in with ours. I counted and there wasn’t an extra. So, I started referring to her as Fatty although I never called her that to her face. I would definitely never call anyone fat let alone give the cow that name. So, I think I need to have a chat with her to come up with a better name. Any suggestions?

 

After the calf walked under the electric fence with no problem, momma and baby started walking fairly fast. I stepped over the fence because I needed to get some photos if this was a new calf. Then I saw 100% proof this was a new calf. The afterbirth.

 

They walked around to where the rest of the cows were and there to greet the new arrival was #6. She said, “Hey, sis! You look like me.” #7 replied, “I already know. The human already thought I was you.”

 

#6 told her she had a black spot above her nose and the “human” should be able to tell the difference.

 

Then #5 came up to greet the new girl.

 

This is the whole gang so far. Nine cows, four heifer calves, and three bull calves. All are doing well. There are still two cows to go, but personally, I think the heifer lost her calf because she is no longer looks pregnant. I was never really sure about the other one either, so seven may be all the calves we get.

 

Father up in the pasture I could see what I thought was turkeys. I zoomed in and saw they were Turkey Vultures instead.

 

Later in the afternoon…

I went out to check on the cows and new calf about 3 in the afternoon. Momma and the new calf were laying down while the calf was taking a nap. Momma heard me coming and turned around then got up. The calf woke up and turned to look at me, too.

 

I started rubbing the calf on its back then it tried to stand up a few times. She was to tired to stand.

 

The mother didn’t mind me rubbing her new daughter a little at first.

 

Then she decided enough was enough. So, I got up and did a little weeding.

That’s it for this post. Another one is on the way. I better get it finished because several I was working on are already outdated.

Until next time, stay well, be positive, and GET DIRTY!

Project Echinacea purpurea. Finally!

Hello folks! I hope this finds you all well. I finally did it! Since I came back here in 2013, I have been eye-balling the Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) in front of the sign of a business on the corner of County Line Road and 52 Highway. When I first came back, the building was not being used but a couple of years ago a business moved in. Actually, I think a business was there before the one now but it didn’t last long. GEEZ! It was originally a bank in the early 1980’s and before that, it was a pasture. Afer the bank it was a clinic, then the clinic moved uptown (where an old theater turned apartment building once was).

Where was I? Oh, yeah. The Echinacea. Anyway, I devised a plan to take them a couple dozen eggs as a bribe for a few plants. I figured they may have been renting the building and would tell me that the plants weren’t theirs. Anyway, this afternoon I went with two dozen eggs and went inside. A lady came up to me and I told her I bought her a couple dozen eggs. She smiled and said, “Oh, eggs!” I explained they were a bribe for a few of the Coneflower in front of the sign. As expected, she said they weren’t hers but said she guessed it would be OK. I told her I would tidy up the bed and remove the old flowers from last year. I told her no one would even notice I removed a few. So, after dinner, I went back when I had time to see what I could do.

 

I took my camera to take a “before” shot of the bed in front of the sign. The bed not only had LOTS of Echinacea (hundreds), it had several other intruders as well. A few thorny vines, a couple of little trees, etc. I removed all that and the old stems from last year. I told her I would only take 3-4… Well, not actually knowing how these plants spread or the condition of the bed, I guess I shouldn’t have told her 3 or 4 plants… I have never grown Echinacea and the only other time I was around them was at my brother’s home in Minnesota which were grown in different conditions. They weren’t forced to grow through a few slits.

This bed, as I suspected even before I saw it, was covered with a fabric mulch then with bark. The Echinacea was growing only on one end and had been planted in slits in the fabric and no telling how many plants are under the fabric wanting to get out. Anyway, I removed three clumps and went to the car. Then I remembered I forgot to take a “before and after” photo. 🙂

 

When I returned home I separated the clumps. I put three plants in the southeast corner bed on the south side of the house.

 

Then I put three more in the northeast corner bed by the back porch. I made this bed last year for the Monarda (Bee Balm) I found at a garden club plant sale. (Plus I needed another place for the ever-multiplying ‘Brocade Marigolds). So, I thought this would be a good place. It has that old weird red dirt, but maybe they won’t mind. Well, it surprised me, but that dirt seems to grow plants pretty well. It doesn’t seem to drain well in the winter, though. It needs to be amended or replaced with “the good stuff” and elevated. Oh, yeah… I have a plan as usual.

Purple Coneflower are great plants and the Finches love their seeds. They also make great companions for Rudbeckia fulgida and hirta (Black and Brown-Eyed Susans), etc. Of course, Echinacea is one of the most popular herbs for the immune system. There are also many cultivars, two of which I tried last year that didn’t return.

I took the rest (first two photos) and put them in the top level of the bed behind the old foundation in the “other yard”.

I am trying to find more plants that successfully overwinter here instead of just “supposed to” overwinter. Maybe I should bring Jimson Weed, dock (or whatever it is), Mullen, and Wild Parsley into the beds. Just kidding.

I have taken AAAAA LLLLOOOOTTTT of photos for posts and the pages to the right. I keep taking more photos for the yard and bed tour, which will take several posts. The problem is, right now the beds don’t look so good. OK, that is the biggest understatement of the week. I know what exaggerate means, but what is the opposite?

I have not done much work in the beds yet because I have been working on the fence and fence rows. Ummm… No, I don’t want to take a photo. I like taking photos of things that are interesting and of plants and certainly not of what I am about to tackle. You have no idea and right now I would like to keep it that way (but it concerns a fence).

I just deleted two paragraphs! Now I need to do a page about the Echinacea purpurea (Eastern Purple Coneflower). I still have LOTS of pages to add to the right and… 🙂 But you know what? One day leads to another which leads to right now. I am not behind even though I used to think so. Everything on my to-do list wanted top priority so I stopped making a to-do list. I feel MUCH better now. 🙂

Well, I better close this post. I hope you all had a great week and have a great week ahead. Stay well, be safe, stay positive, etc. Don’t forget to get as dirty as you can whenever you get a chance. It’s very good for you in more ways than one!

#6! It’s A Heifer. Plus Unwanted Visitors…

Hello folks! I hope this finds you all well. Yesterday morning the cows and geese were having some issues. It’s hard to imagine, but our cows do not like geese. A few years ago a pair of Canadian Geese from the park (next door) brought their young to the farm and it didn’t work out so well. The cows went NUTS and attacked the goslings, killing most of them. I tried to get them separated but that proved not to be a good idea and nearly impossible. I had never seen the cows behave this way before and thought maybe it was because of the noise the goslings made.

Yesterday morning when I heard the cows and geese in a dispute, I thought the same ordeal was happening again. By the time I got outside the geese had moved away from the cows and were heading around the pond. There were no goslings, dead or alive.

All the cows were under the mulberry tree south of the pond except for one. She had been staying away from the other cows for a couple of days and I knew she was getting close. Yesterday morning she was behind the chicken house.

 

I went to check on her and saw the calf’s feet were already sticking out. I went ahead and gave the chickens fresh water then went back inside the house to tell dad the news.

I went back out to watch the cow because I wanted to get some photos of her giving birth for the blog…

 

By the time I returned she had already had the calf. I didn’t stay long because momma didn’t want me there. I did check and saw the calf was a heifer.

 

Later on in the afternoon, momma and baby were doing well.

 

Lisa mentioned #4 looking like Spanky’s dog, well this one does too. 🙂

 

 

 

The two pair of geese hung around all day. Every time they would get close to each other, the dominant gander would chase the other pair off then the male and female would squawk in victory. I think the noise is what annoyed the cows before.

 

A little later I was up by the barn and the geese were walking next to the east side of the pond. There was one cow nursing where they were but she didn’t make any move against them because the geese were quiet. Then, all the sudden, the geese started honking and flew past the cow. The cow let out a LONG MOO as they flew past her and most of the other cows mooed, too.

This morning around 5:30 momma cow was not happy. The new calf was laying down next to the chicken house on the wrong side of the fence. Despite momma demanding her little girl to come back where she belonged, the calf would not budge. She didn’t know what all the fuss was about. She probably she was the one that should be complaining because of the zap she got when she went under the fence. I hesitated going out to put the calf where she belonged and figured she would eventually go back on her own. Then I got to thinking since the fencer is reading 16.0, the calf may not want to go back. So, I went out, half asleep, to see what I could do.

I went to the farthest post to raise the wire and the heifer got up and ran through the fence like she had been shot. Shot, because as soon as she hit the fence, it broke and she fell to the ground. She didn’t get up right away, though, and I could hear the fence snapping on the ground. Being half asleep, I reached down and picked up the hot wire… Oddly, I could barely feel it. I touched one of the posts with the wire and it popped pretty good, just as you would expect for a reading of 16.0. I thought something must be screwy with the fence again. I went ahead and temporarily put the fence together and went in to check the fencer. It was still reading 16.0 so I unplugged it and finished fixing the fence.

It was very strange how I was barely getting zapped then I realized I had on rubber boots instead of my work boots?

That’s it for now besides we are finally getting some rain. It sprinkled a little earlier but not to amount to anything. At about 5:45 it started raining along with a little hail. At 6:25 the rain slowed down to a few sprinkles.

Until next time, stay well, be positive, proper and GET DIRTY!

#5 Is A Bull Calf!

Hello AGAIN! I had to go out of town this afternoon so I didn’t go out and check on the cows until 6:30. A few of the cows were on the southeast side of the pond bank so I went there first. This cow was laying next to her calf, who was sleeping, and I thought it looked a little different. It looked new… I went around to where I could see its face and it was all white. The first calf has an all white face but this was a new one.

 

I started looking it over and saw it was a bull calf. Mom decided I had looked long enough and taken all the photos I needed. Touching was off limits and she didn’t even want me to touch her. I reached out to pet her and she thought a headbutt was a better idea. SO, I went on.

 

There were seven Yellow Legs on the pond bank so I had to watch them for a while. Several of them were very small and for a little bit I didn’t think they were all Yellow Legs. Their legs are very long but I could tell that some of their legs were way down in the mud. They are so funny to watch.

THE NEXT AFTERNOON…

I went out to check on the cows and #5 walked right up to me.

 

He smelled my hand so he could remember me…

 

And I showed him how good a little rub felt.

 

And a little scratch behind the ears.

That’s all I have to say right now. Until next time, take care, stay well, be thankful and GET DIRTY!

 

 

#4. It’s A Heifer!

Hello again! I started working on the electric fence issue this afternoon and the first thing I noticed was the wire between the chicken house and gate was broke. I think probably a deer must have done that because the cows had been content in the hayfield where they weren’t supposed to be. HAHAHAHA! I think if the cows had have done it they would have been in the backyard. One other time the wire was broke and some of the cows were right next to it but hadn’t noticed yet. I get a strange feeling when that wire is broke because it keeps the cows out of the yard. There three places dad put an electric fence that I just don’t understand. Between the chicken house and gate, behind the lagoon, and in front of the south hayfield. Make that four. The electric fence along the swamp behind the south hayfield. If the cows get out any of those places… Now, if they get in the hay lot because of a broken wire that is usually as far as they go. But, if there is a broken wire somewhere around the hay lot, that would be another story, too.

One way or another, I am going to put up barbed wire everywhere it should be instead of an electric fence. Seriously, it is kind of stressful wondering if the cows are where they belong or out grazing on the neighbor’s lawn. Most of the electric fence is rusty and needs replacing anyway.

Anyway, while I was working on the fence and the cows were in the hayfield, I heard a cow let out a LOUD moo. She was down by the walnut trees giving birth. I was back and forth from the chicken house to plug in and unplug the electric fencer as I attempted to find the short. Earlier, I had disconnected the wire going to the electric fence and the fencer went from 0.0 to 14.0. So, I knew there was a short but finding it was a different story. I did figure it out and the last time I checked the fencer was reading 16.4. 🙂 Only one cow, the one who broke the fence, will be brave enough to touch it. She is smart enough to know, since I was working on the fence, that it is working now so she may not even touch it either. Cows are no dummies!

 

By the time I was finished with the fence, the new calf was already up and nursing. I walked over to have a look and saw it was July (the cow’s name). I could tell it was her mainly because of her personality since she is a regular pet. Well, I spoiled her at a very young age. She had no problems with me coming right up to her and petting her. Hmmm… Maybe this isn’t July. Well, for now, this is July unless I find out different.

 

Some calves have issues nursing, but this one had no problem. It took the second calf almost all day to figure it out.

 

What a cutie, huh? One thing good about using a Hereford bull is that all the calves look different. With the cows, you have to get to know them to tell them apart. Maybe they have a white spot on their udder, a white tip on their tail or their navel is bigger. The older cows have bigger udders, too. If all else fails, their personalities are all different.

 

She has a lot of whiskers, too. Just look at the freckles on her nose and those long eyelashes!

 

She already has her moms personality! She walked right up to me and her mom didn’t object one bit. If this had have been one of the first two cows, this would have NOT been allowed.

 

Now she knows who I am and a little scratch behind the ears feels good. The first and third calf won’t let me pet them but the second one does. This afternoon after I finished up with the fence, he was laying just inside the hayfield, almost under the electric fence. I pet him a little then rolled him under it. Since he is a couple of days old now, his mother is OK with it. Plus, I helped him walk to the shade behind his mother when he was just a few hours old. I pet #3 while he was sleeping out in the hayfield but when he realized I wasn’t his mother licking him, he got up and took off like he had been shot.

 

When I first came back in 2013 I would sit out in the pasture and the calves would come up behind me and check me out. Eventually, we became good friends and July is one of those calves. I also kept one of her half-sisters.

Calves are very curious and will follow you until you turn around. After a while, when I am moving the cows from the back pasture, the calves will be waiting for me to come up the lane behind them.

Well, I suppose I better close this post. It is about 1 AM and I guess I should go to bed. Until next time, stay well, be safe, positive and be thankful! As always, GET DIRTY!

#3. Another Bull Calf!

Hello there! I hope this post finds you all well! I came back from town a little after 6 PM yesterday and saw a cow by the hay lot licking her calf. I looked toward the pond and the other two were there. I walked out to the fence by the chicken house to get a closer look.  So, I went inside and picked up the camera then went back outside to investigate.

 

Another one of the older cows had a bull calf. This cow isn’t quite as protective so she didn’t mind me getting closer.

 

I mentioned the last calf’ had a lot of whiskers, so this time I took a close-up of the calf’s face. He doesn’t seem quite a hairy as the last one but he still has a lot. I looked at the heifer and her face isn’t as hairy. I wonder if this is a newborn thing and some of the facial hair falls off. Hmmm…

While I was looking at the calf, the cow that was in the hayfield yesterday morning was looking the electric fence over and gazing off into the hay field. Since she got in there yesterday, she knew the fence wasn’t hot. I looked at her and said, “Oh, I know what you are thinking.” I knew she was about to try something.

After dinner I decided to go visit a friend I hadn’t seen for a while. I looked toward where the calf was and sure though, the cows were in the hay field. I went out to see what they had done and found the gate wire was broke. Since the electric fence is having issues, I knew there wasn’t a whole lot I could do about it. They were in the 12-acre hay field, calmly eating, so I decided that was much better than them getting into the hay lot or the yard.

Yesterday the repairman came to recharge the AC and I had him check the voltage where the fencer plugs in. It read 110 which is what it was supposed to say. He suggested the fencer lost its ground and I should put in a new ground rod. We looked over the line between the barn and chicken house and made a plan to replace it.

So, after he left, I went to town and bought a new rod and line. Then I put in the new rod and hooked it all back up. STILL, it reads 0.0 instead of 13.0. If the rod isn’t deep enough, it still won’t work. GEEZ! I drove in 6 out of 8 feet already! Well, I have some experimenting to do and I am going to run the wire from the barn to see if that will temporarily charge the fence. While the cows are in the hay field, contently eating, and not getting into more mischief. One thing I need to do is eventually, but soon, eliminate some of this electric fence…

Until next time, stay well, stay positive, be prosperous and get as dirty as you can!

#2, It’s A Bull Calf!

Hello, everyone! I got up Monday morning and went in to make my coffee and dad said there was a cow in the hay field. Well, the electric fence issue still isn’t solved and I figured if one cow was in the hayfield they were probably all in the hay field. Maybe the calf was in the hay field as usual and the mother went in after her. I realized there was no use getting in a hurry because there wouldn’t be a whole lot I could do about it. Then dad said I should let them all in the hay field to get something to eat. I had a big question mark in my mind when he said that! “LET THEM IN THE HAY FIELD?”

After a few sips of coffee, I went outside to check out the situation. Well, sure enough, there was a cow in the hayfield. She was just standing there looking at me, not grazing. The rest of the cows were in the pasture under the mulberry tree. I decided to go ahead and feed and water the chickens as I thought over the deal because this was weird. Her calf must me in the hay field and she was with it. She is looking at me like maybe she thinks she is in trouble.

After I was finished with the chickens, I walked toward the gate to the hay field and the cow started walking toward me. I thought, “this is going to be easier than I thought.” Then the other cows noticed I was walking toward the gate and started coming, too. Then I noticed the cow in the hay field was NOT the cow that had the calf. I counted all the cows and there were eight instead of nine… GEEZ! So, I walked all over the hay field and the missing cow was nowhere. Then when I came back to the pasture, there were nine plus the calf. The insulators were all on the posts so I have no idea where the cow got in the hayfield.

BUT, one of the old cows was about to have a calf…  The other cows were heading toward the gate to the back pasture and she headed that way, too. I told them there was no way they were going anywhere, so the birthing mother went back and laid down under the mulberry tree.

 

I went back inside and after a while, she was making a lot of noise. I never heard any of the cows make so much noise while giving birth so I thought maybe she was having trouble. I went back outside and she had already given birth and was just talking to the baby. She was cleaning it off and pushing it around more than usual. Maybe she thought it was dead and that’s why she was acting like that.

 

After a good licking and being pushed around for a while, it started trying to get up. Now, folks, this cow was another one that doesn’t particularly care for human involvement, especially in the beginning, and she let me know several times she didn’t need my help.

 

So, after she had it all cleaned off and I determined it was a bull calf, I went back to the house.

I went back later, without the camera (GEEZ!) and the calf had managed to get up and was trying to nurse. If you haven’t been around newborn calves, I will tell you it is quite an effort. They look all over for it and sometimes it takes a while. Sometimes I can help out, but sometimes I am not allowed and this was one of “those times”. The cow didn’t like where the calf was, right out in the sun, and she seemed to be asking for my help. So, she let me help her guide the calf to the shade.

While I was mowing the yard they were along the edge of the pond laying down. Then later in the afternoon they were on the other side of the pond where she was grazing and the calf was sleeping AGAIN. Well, at least they were away from the pond.

 

Then, about sundown, they were laying down in another spot…

 

The little girl is doing fine.

 

As with all calves, she runs around with her tail in the air and practices bucking like a bronco. Her two back feet are white.

One thing I noticed about the little bull calf was his hairy nose. I need to get a photo so you can see what I am talking about. 🙂

All life is special and newborns of any kind are a miracle of nature. I always wonder what they must be thinking when they get squeezed out then licked all over. Then after a few days, they are walking around exploring and getting into mischief.

Well, I will close this post for now. Until next time, stay well, stay positive, get out and breath in some good fresh air. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you and realize how AWESOME this universe really is. And YOU are AWESOME and part of this AMAZING planet. GET DIRTY!

A Visit To The Greenhouses With My Sister & Niece.

Hello everyone! I hope this posts finds you all well and enjoying the nice spring weather. My sister and niece came down from the city on Saturday to do some plant shopping at the four local Amish greenhouses. The above photo is my sister’s trunk AFTER I took out my plants. We had a great time and there were A LOT of people shopping. You would be really surprised how many people come from the city to shop at the Amish greenhouses and two stores. Wagler’s Greenhouse and the Kuntry Store are southeast of town and the Wildwood, Mast’s, and Muddy Creek greenhouses are northwest of town, along with Lilac Lane Country Store.

Since my sister and niece came, I had a good excuse to go. I was the guide. 🙂 Even though I was somewhat disappointed, I did manage to get a few plants…

 

FIRST STOP-WAGLER’S GREENHOUSE

Last year Mrs. Wagler gave me an Amorphophallus which had this really nice Oxalis triangularis subsp. papilionaceae growing in the pot. I moved the Amorphophallus outside a few days ago, which is STILL dormant, and the Oxalis hadn’t come up either. So, while I was at Waglers I found several pots that I thought I needed. I told her you can never have too many. The bigger pot has a good-sized clump.

A good friend of mine gave me a few of these while I was living in Mississippi, but they didn’t grow as large and had smaller leaves. You would never know the taxonomists have had a little fun with their name because they seem perfectly happy. I think the larger “version” is Oxalis triangularis subsp. papilionaceae and the smaller species is Oxalis triangularis. They can be either green or purple. Common names include False Shamrock, Wood Sorrell, Love Plant, etc.

 

Wagler’s also had a couple of the Oxalis tetraphylla which is also known as the Iron Cross. Now there is a REAL four-leaved clover in the backyard. 🙂

Then when I was putting the plants on the table behind the shed I looked over at the pot of Amorphophallus

 

How about that! The Oxalis triangularis subsp. papilionaceae came up now hopefully the Amorphophallus will be next! Now, you may be wondering why I bought two more pots. Well, for one, I didn’t buy them. I give them plants so they give me plants that are offspring of their own collection. If I pick plants they bought or seeds for, then I have to buy. Remember, you can never have too many Oxalis. 🙂 I am sure we all have Wood Sorrels in one form or another. Plants of the World Online lists 551 species.

 

I bought a Heliotrope a couple of years ago so I decided to bring home another. These would look very good clustered with something red. Wagler’s had several of these but I had to really look for one that was in fairly good shape. The label says MARINE Heliotrope, which is actually Heliotropium arborescens ‘Marine’.

She has several other perennials that are just coming on and I did spot some taller Coreopsis (Tickseed) I may go back for later. I am not ready yet.

 

THE KUNTRY STORE

After we left Wagler’s I asked if they wanted to stop at The Kuntry Store. I told them they had plants that were sometimes different than Wagler’s. My sister picked out a few more plants and I found an Agastache ‘Kudos™ Gold’. I had an Agastache ‘Black Adder’ a few years ago and it did very well. So, we’ll see how this one does. The deer liked the last one and came to the house for a nibble once in a while. At least they didn’t eat much of it each time.

The tag says Mexican Hyssop but they also go by Hummingbird Mint and probably other names. They have a nice honey-minty-licorice scent. Well, at least that’s how the scent is described online but you really have to have a trained smeller to get all that. Kind of like wine tasting. I went to a wine store in Minnesota with my brother a few times and the descriptions of wine and their flavors were very interesting. I am definitely not a wine connoisseur or sommelier and I could never figure out how to separate the flavors. I do have a vivid imagination sometimes, but there must be a limit. Personally, I prefer a glass of sweet tea to wine any day.

 

I also found a MUCH NEEDED Crassula ovata ‘Ladyfingers’. He had several other succulents, but like this one, they were unlabeled. This was the only Crassula ‘Ladyfingers’ he had so I didn’t hesitate. I did very well, I have to admit, not buying unlabeled plants. This was an exception because I already knew what it was. I wonder where he gets his plants anyway.

Of course, we went inside the store and browsed around a bit and they picked up a few other items.

 

WILDWOOD GREENHOUSE

From The Kuntry Store, we went to the other side of town and our first stop was the Wildwood Greenhouse. I can never think of the name of this place! Anyway, even though this is the smallest of the four, their quantity and quality is always VERY good. There were several of these Delosperma cooperi ‘Jewel of Desert Grenade’ (Ice Plant) that my sister and I both had to have. As with last year, they had a nice selection of Sempervivum (Hens-and-Chickens) from Chick Charms. Even though I would like to have a whole collection of “named” cultivars, I didn’t buy any.

They had this HUGE, HUGE Aeonium in a combination planter I nearly drooled over. There were several smaller ones in single pots but they were ALL unlabeled. SO, I didn’t buy. I have never had an Aeonium as a companion but I am wondering…

 

However, I couldn’t resist this AWESOME Heuchera ‘Lime Ricky’. What a bright plant! Now there are two bright plants in the shade garden. Last year I brought a Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ home now there will be a chartreuse-green Coral Bell. 🙂

My sister bought several plants at Wildwood but I only bought two there. This is where I found the Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ last year and I was hoping to find another. I asked him and he said he got his order in too late. He said he had to buy Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’… Well, CRAP! I grew ‘Coffee Cups’ in 2012 in Mississippi and I have been wanting to try them here, so maybe I will go back and get one later.

I needed another Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ because a few days ago I discovered mine must have rotted toward the end of the winter. Every time I checked during the winter it was still OK. Now I am ‘Thailand Giantness’.

Oh, yeah… He also had several nice miniature variegated Agave I passed up. I may have to go back and adopt one of those, too. They have labels! 🙂

 

MAST’S GREENHOUSE

From Wildwood, our next stop was Mast’s Greenhouse. They are probably the largest and always have a nice variety. I found this Oscularia deltoides. This is a “type” of Ice Plant and was first named Mesembryanthemum deltoides. Well, any succulent with “Mesembryanthemum-type” flowers were in that genus at one point. One of the common names of this plant is Pink Ice Plant, but the one I like best is Deltoid-Leaved Dew Plant. That is much more catchy. This is a native from somewhere in South Africa where many very interesting succulents come from. I really like it’s curious looking leaves. My thanks to a member of the Facebook group, Succulent Infatuation, for identifying this plant. Yep, it was unlabeled. I will get a page written about this plant soon.

 

When I was finished looking, my sister was still not satisfied so I started following her around. Wouldn’t you know it, she spotted a few Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’ I had missed. I told her she should get one and told her sometimes the flowers would be bi-color, sometimes solid white or reddish. She said she wanted one that was all bi-color and didn’t buy one. GEEZ, SIS! I don’t think she got what I said… There were only two or three left so you can bet I brought one home. I read how to propagate them so I am going to give it a try. 🙂

I did NOT venture to their tomatoes even though they always have a lot. I brought home whiteflies from Mast’s last year and I am not going to do that again…

 

MUDDY CREEK GREENHOUSE

Acalypha pendula on 5-5-18, #435-1.

On farther down the road from Mast’s is Muddy Creek. Muddy Creek is laid out very well, very clean and SPOTLESS! They are very good sized and have a great variety and some of their prices on some items are better. This is where I found the Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ and ‘Empress Wu’ last years, plus the Buddleja ‘Pugster Blue’. I think I also bought most of the tomatoes here and should have bought them all here.

I didn’t buy anything there but my sister bought this Acalypha pendula (Chenille Plant) for me. I think she had already bought one at one of the other greenhouses. I brought one of these home last year but was undecided whether to bring it inside for the winter. I have always read where they can have issues with mealy bugs and other critters. I was also going to try to overwinter the Begonias and didn’t want any bugs on them. By the time I thought I would bring it inside, mother nature was tired of waiting and sent a good zap. That was that.

Also last year I put the Chenille Plant in the ground instead of a larger pot like most normal people. It did fine and spread out over the gound very nice. This time I believe I will keep it in a pot and let it hang over the sides and then bring it inside for the winter.

Ummm…

 

I picked up this Fan Flower, Scaevola aemula ‘Scalora® Brilliant’, somewhere but I can’t remember where. I brought a Fan Flower home from Wagler’s last year but they didn’t have any I could see this time. So, I am pretty sure it didn’t come from there. Maybe I found it at Mast’s? Maybe Wildwood? Heck, maybe I found it at The Kuntry Store… No, it isn’t a sign of aging because that would be impossible. I am immortal. 🙂

I mentioned earlier I was disappointed. I was looking for plants for the south side of the house and didn’t see any like I found last year. I’m sure you all experience this same problem when you try to find plants you always had and now can’t find them. It’s like they have suppliers that persuade them to buy certain plants. There were plants I would have bought if their tag didn’t say “MIXED” or some cultivar I didn’t like. Most of the time I buy “MIXED” they turn out pink! I want the old tried and true cultivars or the straight species but they are hard to find at garden centers… I ordered a catalog from the Missouri Wildflower Nursery and I am VERY tempted… I think there may be something whacky with some of the hybrids and cultivars that won’t come up the next spring. I found some… Oh, I will wait for that one. 🙂

I am not complaining about the Amish greenhouses and realize they all work very hard. They do a very good job and present their plants very well. They do a lot of work on their hanging baskets and combination planters and they always look really great. One problem is that there are four greenhouses, and while that does bring in many customers, they all go to every greenhouse. While they may start some of their own plants from seed (very few) they buy a majority of the plants they sell. Some are taken from cuttings of their own plants, too. But, by buying from suppliers, they get what is trending or what their supplier’s suppliers are trying to promote. Most of the time when I go to the greenhouses the rush of traffic is over. This time, the customers were out in full force and I was able to observe their reaction. Many were just walking around looking and couldn’t find everything they were looking for. Sure, they had a lot of plants that many people buy and they were selling a lot of plants. Impatiens, petunias, vinca, begonias, and so on just as usual. Cultivar’s change but unnoticed because they almost always look alike.

I have my eye on some Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) up the road. Problem is their location. In front of a business sign, in a businesses yard, on the corner… Well, I took them some free eggs last summer so maybe I should pay them a visit with more eggs and mention the Echinacea. 🙂 They will probably tell me they are renting the building… GEEZ!

Since I already know what the local greenhouses have, the next trip will be the Green Street Market in Clinton. There is also the plant sale sponsored by one of the local garden clubs I need to be watching for. I need another Bee Balm or three because the one I bought last year didn’t come back up. I know why, so maybe I will do better this time.

But for now, I better stop rambling because I have photos for three posts ready. Oh yeah, the calf is doing fine but she likes sleeping in the hayfield. She goes under the electric fence and up about 20 feet or so in the hayfield in the old sage grass and hides. A few days ago she walked under the fence by the chicken house, walked around the corner into the other yard and laid down in front of the trailer. She isn’t getting a very good ZAP because there is a problem… I think the electric line between the barn and chicken house needs replaced and the current is bleeding out somewhere along the way. The fencer says 0.0 in the chicken house where it is plugged in and over 13.0 when I tried it in the barn. There is still a little current because I checked it… No, I didn’t stick my tongue on it. 🙂 The repairman is coming to charge the AC Tuesday and I am going to get his opinion.

OK, now I am finished. Not really because I am going to continue in the next post. Until then, stay well, be thankful, be safe, positive and GET DIRTY!

First Calf of 2018-It’s A Heifer

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all well! It’s that time of year once again when the cows start calving. Yesterday, when I was going to take the cows to the back pasture, they all headed for the gate except one of the older cows. She was completely not interested. I walked up to her and said, “Don’t you want to go to the back?” She said, “No I better not.” I walked up to her and started looking her over. Normally, I can walk up to her and pet her with no problem unless she is in one of her moods. She was definitely in one of her moods yesterday and tried to give me a good head-butt. So, I left all the cows in the front pasture.

For the past few weeks, I have been observing certain signs you just learn to watch for if you have cows. Their udders start getting bigger as they get closer to having a calf for one thing. This morning her udder was very full and she had a little, umm, discharge. I pretty much knew today would be the day.

Then, in the afternoon, I went out to do some work on the fence and she was in the corner by the walnut trees in front of the south hay field. I worked my way up to where she was and could tell she was very close. She was up and down and keeping her eye on me. I worked my way up to within maybe 100 feet of her and decided to give her privacy. I went to the pickup and watched her for a few minutes. She said, “Do you mind? I don’t need an audience and I have done this many times.” So, I left her in peace. This was about 5 PM.

At a little after 6 PM I went out to the gate by the barn with the binoculars and saw a big white spot… I looked through the binoculars and she had her calf already. It was up walking around and nursing.

So, I had to go meet our new arrival and take a few photos. Most of the cows have no problem with me handling their babies, but never this one.

 

The rest of the cows walked to the gate to the back pasture as if they were saying, “OK, she’s done now.” I told them, “Do you know what time it is? This is when I normally bring you back.” They just looked at me and said nothing. I have news for them tomorrow because they are STILL not going to the back pasture.

I apologize for not doing the post about the beds and their location yet. I am about ready, though. I did move the plants from the basement outside on Sunday but the cactus and succulents are still inside. We had some pretty good wind the past couple of days but none of the plants blew over. I put bricks around their pots and gave them a good soaking.

I will close this post for now and hope you all stay well. Stay positive and be thankful. IT’S SPRING! Time to get growing and GET DIRTY!

Dead Nettle VS. Henbit & Viola sororia

Hello AGAIN… While I was mowing Friday I noticed a patch of Henbit that didn’t look like the others. These were not as tall and at the time the flowers seemed a little bluer. So, today, I decided to go investigate further.

Upon further research, I found I had been mistaken before. I thought Henbit and Dead Nettle were the same and my photos were all labeled Lamium amplexicaule… As it turns out, Dead Nettle and Henbit are two different species…

 

As you can tell, the leaves of Lamium amplexicaule, commonly known as Henbit, are small and round.

 

The plants I had been calling Henbit are actually Dead Nettle, Lamium purpureum. The plants are taller, up to 10″, and the longer heart-shaped leaves are arranged in groups of four with a pagoda or pyramidal-type growth habit.

 

Other common names for the Lamium purpureum include Red Dead Nettle, Purple Dead Nettle, Red Henbit, and Purple Archangel.

The entire Lamium genus is known as the dead-nettles. They are native to parts of Africa, Europe, and Asia but somehow made their way to North America. Currently, Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 29 accepted species in the Lamium genus.

Both species are edible (stems, leaves, and flowers) and have a sweet peppery flavor and reminiscent of Celery.

Both species are very important to the ecosystem as they are one of the first wildflowers to bloom. They are very important to bees when they first come out of hibernation when food is scarce. I am not sure about the Henbit, but Dead Nettle has red pollen, so if you see bees with red on their hair you know they have been feeding on Dead Nettle.

The leaves are also eaten by deer and rabbits and their seed is eaten by birds. So, both these plants are very beneficial…

 

The Common Violet, or Common Blue Violet, is now flowering here. Originally, I had their folder and photos labeled Viola papilionaceae but today I noticed that name is now a synonym of Viola sororia. There are A LOT of these in the yard behind the old foundation and in the ditch by the street. There were also MANY in the backyard of the mansion in Mississippi.

 

Last spring I noticed a HUGE patch of these “oniony” looking plants growing by the lagoon. I didn’t mow them off at first, but after a while I did. It was strange I hadn’t noticed them until last spring. Where did they come from and how did the colony get so large without being noticed? I mentioned them to dad last spring and he didn’t have any comment. Sometimes I think he probably wonders about me… Well, anyway, they returned again.

 

They are fairly tall and the leaves don’t seem as thick as they were last spring. The weather has had a big impact on many species growth this spring. Although these definitely do look like some kind of an onion, their leaves don’t have much of an “oniony” odor when I squeezed them. Well, you never know… There are Grape Hyacinths and chives growing in the yard and they all look the same. I can only tell the difference when I mow over them or smell their leaves… Normally, the Hyacinths are all flowering this time of the year while the chives are not. This year, no. Most of the Hyacinths are not flowering (at least not yet).

While, no doubt, they are some kind of an Allium species like onions, shallots, garlic, etc., who knows which species. There are 960 Allum species… I would definitely like to know more about this colony so I will have to either mow around them or relocate them.

That’s it for this post. Now, I will work on the yard and bed tour… Until then, stay well, be safe, count your blessings and be thankful. Don’t forget to hug your loved ones and tell them they are AWESOME! They may even tell you that you are AWESOME, too! GEEZ! I feel a much-needed post coming on… Well, I have a problem I need to talk about but it will have to wait…

As always GET DIRTY!!!